Synergi explains its approach in a new paper

The Synergi Collaborative Centre aims to gather, synthesise, summarise, and prepare knowledge products, creative presentations of the science, and scientific briefings, reports and research papers.

Given that the evidence base has in the past been contested, we will use robust research methods but also ensure that the knowledge is carefully curated with those with specific areas of expertise and interest, especially those with lived experience.

We will present this knowledge alongside the powerful and in-depth stories or narratives of the people that we hope are beneficiaries, and those who will transact changes.

The following are a list of methodological approaches we adopt to generate new knowledge, to synthesise existing knowledge and to develop creative visual, performance, and literature forms of presenting a new paradigm of science.

  • Ethnography 1-5
  • Quality improvement 6-8
  • Design thinking 1 9-11
  • Community-based participatory research 12-19
  • Co-production and co-creation (Synergi is producing a systematic review)
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • Statistical and epidemiological analysis of existing data sources
  • Rapid policy and scoping reviews
  • Priority setting exercises using all of the above approaches and surveys.

Each of these approaches has a strong and sound set of guiding principles, and sometimes very structured and formal and standardised processes for undertaking the work and presenting knowledge.

We invariably will follow these guidelines and protocols, adapting them where needed for the specific populations and types of issues that emerge. Importantly, the emphasis on in-depth stories and narratives of those without voice requires that we adopt a greater emphasis on the more qualitative and lived experiences and co-productive and co-created type of activities. Yet where appropriate (and the questions set are critical, important and potentially ground-breaking) we will undertake primary research that involves collecting new information on a large number of people.

Such questions may also be addressed by the analysis of existing data collected for other studies, but will be made available to the public.

Below are selected references with examples and seminal publications for the lesser known methods. We have not referenced reviews or secondary analytic methods as these are well established.

  1. Savage J. Ethnography and health care. BMJ 2000;321(7273):1400-2. [published Online First: 2000/12/01]
  2. Reeves S, Kuper A, Hodges BD. Qualitative research methodologies: ethnography. BMJ 2008;337:a1020. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1020 [published Online First: 2008/08/09]
  3. Garrett CR, Gask LL, Hays R, et al. Accessing primary health care: a meta-ethnography of the experiences of British South Asian patients with diabetes, coronary heart disease or a mental health problem. Chronic Illn 2012;8(2):135-55. doi: 10.1177/1742395312441631 [published Online First: 2012/03/15]
  4. Jennings AA, Foley T, Walsh KA, et al. General practitioners’ knowledge, attitudes and experiences of managing behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia: protocol of a mixed methods systematic review and meta-ethnography. Syst Rev 2018;7(1):62. doi: 10.1186/s13643-018-0732-7 [published Online First: 2018/04/25]
  5. Ljungberg A, Denhov A, Topor A. The Art of Helpful Relationships with Professionals: A Meta-ethnography of the Perspective of Persons with Severe Mental Illness. Psychiatr Q 2015;86(4):471-95. doi: 10.1007/s11126-015-9347-5 [published Online First: 2015/01/30]
  6. Aimola L, Jasim S, Tripathi N, et al. Impact of peer-led quality improvement networks on quality of inpatient mental health care: study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry 2016;16(1):331. doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-1040-1 [published Online First: 2016/09/23]
  7. Druss BG. Mental health quality improvement goes global. World Psychiatry 2018;17(1):44-45. doi: 10.1002/wps.20487 [published Online First: 2018/01/21]
  8. Green S, Beveridge E, Evans L, et al. Implementing guidelines on physical health in the acute mental health setting: a quality improvement approach. Int J Ment Health Syst 2018;12:1. doi: 10.1186/s13033-018-0179-1 [published Online First: 2018/01/19]
  9. Ware NC, Tugenberg T, Dickey B. Ethnography and measurement in mental health: qualitative validation of a measure of continuity of care (CONNECT). Qual Health Res 2003;13(10):1393-406. doi: 10.1177/1049732303258316 [published Online First: 2003/12/09]
  10. Brian L. Design thinking – a new mental model of value innovation. Strategy & Leadership 2010;38(3):5-14. doi: doi:10.1108/10878571011042050
  11. Razzouk R, Shute V. What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important? Review of Educational Research 2012;82(3):330-48. doi: 10.3102/0034654312457429
  12. Smikowski J, Dewane S, Johnson ME, et al. Community-Based Participatory Research for Improved Mental Health. Ethics Behav 2009;19(6):461-78. doi: 10.1080/10508420903274971 [published Online First: 2010/02/27]
  13. Lincoln AK, Borg R, Delman J. Developing a community-based participatory research model to engage transition age youth using mental health service in research. Fam Community Health 2015;38(1):87-97. doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000054 [published Online First: 2014/11/26]
  14. Goodyear-Smith F, Corter A, Suh H. Electronic screening for lifestyle issues and mental health in youth: a community-based participatory research approach. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 2016;16(1):140. doi: 10.1186/s12911-016-0379-z [published Online First: 2016/11/09]
  15. Corrigan P, Pickett S, Kraus D, et al. Community-based participatory research examining the health care needs of African Americans who are homeless with mental illness. J Health Care Poor Underserved 2015;26(1):119-33. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2015.0018 [published Online First: 2015/02/24]
  16. Betancourt TS, Frounfelker R, Mishra T, et al. Addressing health disparities in the mental health of refugee children and adolescents through community-based participatory research: a study in 2 communities. Am J Public Health 2015;105 Suppl 3:S475-82. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302504 [published Online First: 2015/04/24]
  17. Doornbos MM, Zandee GL, DeGroot J, et al. Using community-based participatory research to explore social determinants of women’s mental health and barriers to help-seeking in three urban, ethnically diverse, impoverished, and underserved communities. Arch Psychiatr Nurs 2013;27(6):278-84. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2013.09.001 [published Online First: 2013/11/19]
  18. Knightbridge SM, King R, Rolfe TJ. Using participatory action research in a community-based initiative addressing complex mental health needs. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2006;40(4):325-32. doi: 10.1080/j.1440-1614.2006.01798.x [published Online First: 2006/04/20]
  19. Mulvaney-Day NE, Rappaport N, Alegria M, et al. Developing systems interventions in a school setting: an application of community-based participatory research for mental health. Ethn Dis 2006;16(1 Suppl 1):S107-17. [published Online First: 2006/05/10]