Close up on the thumbs up sign by a man of colour

Approvals for Applied Research

Last week was very challenging and I’m exhausted. As I’ve previously discussed, an applied research project requires several levels of executive approval that take at least two months, on top of ethics and other planning. This is not the same as academics, who can carry out whatever research they desire, without requiring any managerial approval. (If they’re doing primary research, however, including on humans, they will need ethics clearance, as do we.)

At the beginning of last week we wrote to our deputy secretary for internal executive approval of our trial to proceed to the next phase (testing).

Today, I’ve written to our governance group to ask for their final approval of the materials that we will be testing (partner executive approval).

Together, with deputy secretary approval and governance group approval, we can then write a briefing note to our secretary about our trial. That’s the final authorisation to proceed with the trial. It takes at least four weeks, so we’re hoping to finalise that by the end of June.

Last week, I also ran a couple of workshops with our senior data analyst, four hours in total. She is an economic sociologist. She went through our trial design and had a lot of questions, which strengthened our trial protocol.

Happily, I ended the week by finishing the draft chapters that I’m writing for our trial protocol, which is the documentation of our methods for our randomised controlled trial.

I’m writing the chapters on our data analysis plan and the preparation for the implementation of the intervention that we’re testing. I’m also writing our communications plan and ethics chapters, and how we going to run the trial. Another colleague is drafting the background and literature chapters. A third colleague will be writing up the power calculations and how are we going to randomise our sample.

This afternoon I’m going to draft our team’s newsletter and get it scheduled to go out tomorrow. We’re promoting our new online workshops. Given that we’re still in lockdown, all our public events are obviously online.

I’m going to go back to working on our next publication, which is how to scale up a randomised controlled trial. It includes considerations that agencies need to review if they want to use some of the interventions we’ve already tested and are successful. I’m including case studies of how we’ve rolled out other interventions across the state.

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