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The Global Health Network

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Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum

We are currently undertaking a study to inform the development of the Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum. This project developed as a collaboration between the World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR) and The Global Health Network (TGHN). The aim of this project is to identify what constitutes the minimum set of skills, knowledge and key principles that would enable those without previous experience in research to undertake high-quality health research.

We designed a three stage approach to establishing this evidence-led curriculum, as illustrated in further detail in the infographic below. 

Stage 1 – Gap analysis

We conducted a comprehensive review of the responses from a series of research training needs surveys, session evaluations from research training workshops, and feedback submitted on completion of eLearning, collected by The Global Health Network from 2017 to 2019. We analysed the responses of 7167 participants from across 153 countries. This analysis provided us with a range of research skills topics and subject areas that generated a core list of 98 research training themes..


Stage 2 – Delphi study -

Delphi Round 1 survey

The panel for this Delphi study is formed by both experts and stakeholders in health research and health research training with heterogeneous expertise and from diverse geographical regions. We aim to include the views of researchers, research participants, research training facilitators, members of research advisory committees, research funders, authors of peer-reviewed research training papers, authors of research training books/programmes, journal editors, research policy makers and regulators.

The number of panellist in round 1 was 254. This first Delphi survey offered an opportunity for panellists to indicate which of these 98 themes they considered essential to be included in the Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum and to suggest any missing themes. Themes were scored on two dimensions: [a] relevance (should we include this category / skill at all?) and [b] clarity of each statement.

Round 1 delphi survey results:

  • The panel team reached consensus on 43 themes to be included in the Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum.
  • No consensus was reached for any theme to be excluded from the Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum.
  • The remaining 55 themes will be re-evaluated in survey round 2 including 8 themes indicated as unclear in round 1 and alongside 10 new themes generated by panellists in Delphi round 1.

Delphi round 2 survey

The Delphi Round 2 survey re-evaluated the remaining 55 themes including 8 themes indicated as unclear in the first round and the 10 new themes generated by panellists in Round 1. For the purposes of Round 2, themes were scored using a nominal scale [yes/no] for both classifications; relevance and clarity. There were a total of 222 panellists participating in Round 2.


Stage 3 - Stakeholder Review Workshop

The final stage in the process seeks to ratify and validate the proposed Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum through a Stakeholder Review WHO-TDR-led workshop. 

The aim of this workshop is to consider the results of the Delphi study, to:

i)                    review the suitability of the theme groupings as an accurate reflection of the content and

ii)                   to evaluate the applicability of the proposed Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum findings to the global research community.


More details to follow soon.


Study Documents and reports:

Panellist information sheet v1.0 05/02/2020

Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum - Delphi survey round 1 report

Essential Research Skills Training Curriculum - Delphi survey round 2 report