13.2.4  Community participation in prioritising health issues

The selection and analysis of your research topic should involve not only your own judgment and opinions, but also the views of local managers in the health and health-related services, healthcare workers, community leaders and other stakeholders.

Stop reading for a moment and think about which health issues in your community are priorities for further health research. If you asked some of your colleagues and community leaders this question, would they say the same issues that you identified, or could some of them be different?

Perhaps the health issues in your community that you think are important are not high on the priority list of some other people. However, it is likely that there will be a number of serious issues that are shared as a common concern (Figure 13.4). It is therefore essential to discuss the problem with the concerned stakeholders: community leaders, villagers, men and women, rich and poor, to explore their perceptions of the problem.

Figure 13.4  Your research might reveal that people in your community want a clean, protected water supply as their first priority. (Photo: AMREF/Fitsum Melkomu)

13.2.3  Poor sanitary conditions: creating a research question

13.3  Choosing which topic to research