Why a community-led approach?
The project’s research team are using the Participatory Action Research method (PAR), guided by a Design Thinking model.
PAR is about involving community members as co-researchers – their experiences helping shape and set the direction of the research.
Design Thinking is a creative problem-solving approach that focuses on understanding people’s needs and ideas.
It’s used to solve complex problems and has five steps:
1. understanding people’s needs,
2. defining the problem,
3. coming up with ideas,
4. creating a solution that’s the best fit for end-users, and
5. testing it out.
The research team will work with the North West community, taking the time to listen and understand their knowledge and experiences around hypertension.
Together, they will understand the local services, skills, and capacity available, before co-creating an evidence-based intervention to put to the test.
The project will run over three years and is broken up into three phases:
Phase 1 – Understanding the problem
The team will work with its partners and the North West community to gather information about hypertension through interviews, focus groups, world-style cafes and other appropriate methods identified during this phase.
This phase will likely be repeated, to understand more about hypertension in the local area, and to generate more ideas and possible solutions from the community.
Phase 2 – Exploring and co-designing potential solutions
Co-creating potential solutions and interventions with the community, establishing baseline datasets, and surveying attitudes and behaviours. The intervention will focus on prevention, early detection, treatment, management, or a combination of these.
Phase 3 – Implementing, testing and refining
Planning, implementing, and evaluating the pilot intervention that was co-designed in phase 2.
This research involves being adaptable and gathering both qualitative and quantitative data. It’s expected that more than once cycle through each phase will be needed.
Every six months, the project’s progress will be evaluated, and changes made as needed.
The six-monthly reporting process will also allow the team to formally share key learnings and findings across each phase of the project back to University of Tasmania and other external stakeholders.
Who will benefit from this research?
The project aims to help the North West community and those most at risk of hypertension, including pregnant mothers, local workers, those using community houses, and local Aboriginal people.
The University of Tasmania will benefit from testing the project’s process, which can be used for other community-led projects seeking to address health challenges.