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Neurosurgeons’ experiences of conducting and disseminating clinical research in low- and middle-income countries: a qualitative study protocol

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Whiffin, Charlotte J  ORCID logo
Esene, Ignatius N 
Karekezi, Claire 


Introduction: Low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) face the greatest burden of neurotrauma. However, most of the research published in scientific journals originates from high-income countries, suggesting those in LMICs are either not engaging in research or are not publishing it. Evidence originating in high-income countries may not be generalisable to LMICs; therefore, it is important to nurture research capacity in LMICs so that a relevant evidence base can be developed. However, little is published about specific challenges or contextual issues relevant to increasing research activity of neurosurgeons in LMICs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to understand neurosurgeons’ experiences of, aspirations for and ability to conduct and disseminate clinical research in LMICs. Methods and analysis: This is a pragmatic qualitative study situated within the naturalistic paradigm using focus groups and interviews with a purposive sample of neurosurgeons from LMICs. First, we will conduct asynchronous online focus groups with 36 neurosurgeons to broadly explore issues relevant to the study aim. Second, we will select 20 participants for follow-up semistructured interviews to explore concepts in more depth and detail than could be achieved in the focus group. Interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic analysis will be conducted following Braun and Clarke’s six stages and will be supported by NVIVO software. Ethics and dissemination: The University of Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee reviewed this study and provided a favourable opinion in January 2020 (REF PRE.2020.006). Participants will provide informed consent, be able to withdraw at any time and will have their contributions kept confidential. The findings of the study will be shared with relevant stakeholders and disseminated in conference presentations and journal publications.



Neurology, 1506, 1713, qualitative research, neurosurgery, neurological injury

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BMJ Open

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BMJ Publishing Group
National Institute for Health Research (RG89187 code RRZB/044)