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Table 5 Strategies to achieve rigor across the process evaluation

From: British Columbia Healthy Connections Project process evaluation: a mixed methods protocol to describe the implementation and delivery of the Nurse-Family Partnership in Canada

Criteria Strategy to achieve rigor Research phase Action taken in the process evaluation
Credibility Time sampling Data collection Information will be collected about program delivery and implementation, and how it varies by site, geography and season, across four years of time.
Engagement in the field Data collection Site visits & regular engagement through educational initiatives with PHNs, NFP provincial coordinator, supervisors and managers by researchers. Data will also be collected across a prolonged period of time.
Reflexivity For duration of study Reflexivity will be achieved by the lead researcher and research coordinator maintaining reflexive journals to document and assess the influence of their experiences and perceptions on the qualitative research process.
Triangulation (data source & type, investigator triangulation) Data collection & analysis Data source (PHN, supervisors, coordinator) and type (interviews, focus groups, documents, fidelity data) triangulation will be implemented to cross-check data and to confirm points of convergence or divergence across the dataset. Investigator triangulation will occur as we have created a research team with extensive experience in qualitative research and with a diversity of experiences.
Member checking Data collection & analysis As key themes and issues emerge, they will be discussed and confirmed in interviews/focus groups with subsequent participants.
Peer examination Data collection & analysis This process involves the researchers discussing insights and problems with peers and colleagues. This process will occur in two ways: 1) amongst the members of the BCHCP PE research team and with members of the broader BCHCP scientific evaluation team; and 2) with members of the BCHCP Steering Committee.
Interviewing process Data collection Credibility will be promoted during the interviews and focus groups by reframing questions and participants’ responses, seeking validation of answers, and developing interview guides that are internally consistent [24].
Researcher credibility Data collection The primary interviewers are familiar with the phenomenon under study (home visitation, NFP, program implementation and delivery), have developed strong investigative skills from conducting qualitative research for more than 10 years, and the ability to examine and assess the data from a multidisciplinary perspective [24].
Dependability Triangulation Data collection By collecting multiple types of data (interviews, focus groups, observations recorded in field notes, documents) from multiple sources (PHNs, supervisors, coordinator) dependability of the data is promoted.
Step-wise replication Data analysis Members of the research team will independently code a sample of transcripts for the purpose of early identification of key codes. Researchers will meet to establish consensus around code labels and code definitions.
Peer examination Protocol development As qualitative research is characterized as an emergent design, as decisions are made regarding sampling and data collection, they will be reviewed and discussed in collaboration with the Process Evaluation team of investigators, and as appropriate, with the BCHCP Steering Committee (or appropriate Health Authority partners).
Dense description of research methods Sampling, data collection, data analysis All methodological decisions and actions taken will be documented in the study audit trail.
Confirmability Maintain audit trail   An audit trail will be maintained by the research coordinator to document all study decisions (and their rationale) and all sampling, data collection and analysis procedures implemented.
Triangulation Data collection As detailed above
Reflexivity For duration of study As detailed above