Involving stakeholders in research

In our review, we noticed that a handful of articles report involving other stakeholders in the research in addition to research participants. By “stakeholders” we mean people who may be related to the participant or to the research topic and context in some way. For example, family and friends of a participant may be included as other stakeholders in the wellbeing of participants in digital mental health research. The article linked in this post includes an example of how other stakeholders, physical therapists, helped to facilitate interviews with participants (older adults):

“This study led to 41 respondents between 65 and 89 years of age. The occupational therapists selected and recruited the participants, obtained the necessary consent, and offered door-to-door assistance with filling in the questionnaire. Still, not all of the participants were able to answer every single question of the extensive questionnaire.”

Kanis, Marije, et al. “Sensor monitoring in the home: giving voice to elderly people.” 2013 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare and Workshops . IEEE, 2013.

What are best practices for engaging with a stakeholder community? What roles might stakeholders play in research? How (if at all) do researchers return results or value back to the stakeholders?

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That’s an interesting topic! I have came across some research papers involving stakeholders in my graduate study as well. I would love to share here:

Steps from the wireless pedometers were automatically
uploaded to the base station when in range (within a few
feet) and available on the website within eight hours.
Students could use the web interface to check their steps,
and see their school’s total compared to other schools. The
website featured a “horserace” metaphor; each student’s
avatar was a customizable cartoon horse, and the horses sat
in a customizable school bus, which traveled around a
racetrack with other schools in the competition. The relative
position of the school bus indicated a school’s standing in
the competition. Teachers had their own version of the
website that allowed them to customize the school’s bus,
keep track of students’ step counts, and perform basic
administrative tasks

I found it interesting that the researchers of the team involved teachers as their stakeholders. What benefits did the research team provide for the teachers?


We have developed a protocol for engaging with people living in retirement communities. They have helped to inform how we return our research results with people who have contributed as participants.


@zye55555 thanks for sharing! What roles did the teachers play in this study?

ALSO, that’s such a good point that stakeholders should get some benefits associated with their participation in addition to the participants.