As you will have read in several other modules, the physical, socioeconomic and cultural environments, health systems, stakeholders and institutional culture are key aspects of the IR context. As the first of the pre-implementation steps of an IR project, the IR team must be brought together from this preliminary contextualizing stage to jointly analyze and agree on relevant contextual factors.
In addition to building a common understanding of the research context, this initial step also represents an ideal opportunity for the core IR team to achieve several team-related objectives:
Convening team members often requires time and patience, and cannot be hurried. A good understanding of existing power relationships between stakeholders may also be essential. Clear and equal communication among team members is an important principle from the outset, and one potential challenge at this stage is the lack of human resources to dedicate to the team-building process.
The mapping and convening step might include exploring potential interest and partner 'readiness' through initial one-to-one meetings, as well as initial IR core team brainstorming meetings, as the collaboration takes shape. This first stage frequently involves consultation leading to development of a preliminary conceptual framework for a research question and/or early consensus surrounding a common challenge or priority.