Execution of an IR project involves implementation and monitoring of the proposed research activities as well as updating and revising the project plan according to emerging lessons and/or conditions. This phase should also include the closure and evaluation of the project, as well as reporting and disseminating the processes and findings of the research. (See: Key plans and components of IR project planning, See: Main activities associated with planning for a research project)
This section introduces important activities that will enable your research team to plan and execute an IR project with an intersectional gender lens. These include:
The composition of the implementation team and meaningful stakeholder/community engagement are both vital to inform your project design and implementation activities. Researchers should be self-aware of their own biases to avoid any social prejudices against the study participants. Thus, before implementing your project, use the questions in Table 11 to guide your research team to critically reflect on your own biases and power dynamics might impact the project activities.
Collaborate with the research participants when designing the research tools for your study. It is important to include some research participants in your research team. This participatory approach will not only enhance the relevance and sensitivity of the questions in your study tools, but also minimize power imbalances in the research process, as well as the risk of perpetuating stigma and social injustice.22 Use gender frameworks as a basis for developing questions with an intersectional gender lens to explore how the different social variables under analysis intersect with the relevant gender domains to shape participants’ experiences with the IR intervention. Use the information from the intersectional gender analysis matrix to design the data collection tools.
Below are some tips for designing questions for data collection tools incorporating an intersectional gender lens:73,74,75
All study instruments (quantitative and qualitative) should be pre-tested to check the validity and reliability of data collection tools. Pre-testing allows the research team to check whether the research instructions and questions are clear, context-specific and that adequate time has been allowed to administer the questionnaire, etc. Ideally, pre- testing with individuals from the population of interest ensures that potential participants understand the questions and helps the research teams to design questions that are sensitive to the needs and experiences of participants.76 If this is not feasible, pre-testing should be conducted from a comparable study population and environment.
Pre-testing the research methodology with participants, and using their feedback, can make the research design more robust. It assists identification of ideal data collection sites, time periods for data collection and any other related requirements that may have been overlooked during the planning phase, such as compensation of participants.70 Since data management is critical to the success of the research, the research team should be available during discussions that follows the pre-test, in order to incorporate changes into the final design of the tool and facilitate the incorporation of appropriate checks into the data entry system. This stage includes designing the forms for recording measurements, developing programmes for data entry, management and analysis, as well as planning dummy tabulations to ensure the appropriate variables are collected.
The implementation of the overall research project involves both conducting and monitoring the proposed activities, as well as updating and revising the project plan according to emerging lessons and/or conditions. You should be aware that the planning and start-up phases of an IR project can take a considerable amount of time, especially when the project is intentional about ensuring gender inclusion aspects. You should take this into consideration while developing your project timeline. As mentioned, your implementation team should be interdisciplinary in nature with expertise in heath, gender and intersectionality research, and should be self-aware of their own biases. Use participatory approaches, methods and tools and be respectful and accountable to research participants and the community at large. (See: Project execution)
Consider the following tips to incorporate an intersectional gender lens when implementing your IR project:
The main objective of monitoring is to assess whether the project implementation is aligned with the IR project objectives and plan. (See: Planning and conducting IR)
IR teams should conduct monitoring continuously, with the aim of improving project implementation processes. Use your baseline indicators to monitor both the process as well as the progress of the project activities. Seek feedback and adjust accordingly. Assess indicators for different groups of people in each project area, for example:
Communication must be an ongoing and continuous component of the overall IR project process from initial planning stages, throughout implementation and during the final evaluation. Involving stakeholders in the development process early enhances ownership of the project, drives engagement in the process and promotes the ultimate uptake of the research findings and conclusions. Transparency, openness and engagement among IR team members, and with broader project stakeholders and participants are vital elements. Implementation research is different from other forms of research because the IR study can be adjusted according to the bottlenecks identified during the phases of the IR cycle. As new knowledge and data are being generated from your study, it is important to share them with stakeholders and key end-users during interactive collaborative sessions. This integrated knowledge translation approach will not only help researchers become more active and context-aware but also creates a much higher likelihood of the research findings being acknowledged, augmented and used by stakeholders and end-users. End-of-study knowledge translation activities are typically conducted at the end of the research and are focused on translating knowledge into more conventional information products and disseminating those to generally broader audiences, and over a longer period. The information should be accessible, simple to comprehend and clear, and communicated widely in an effective way through use of appropriate language, formats and technologies. Focus on the needs of the target audience, including the scientific community, nongovernmental organizations, policy-makers, technical staff and service providers, participants, and beneficiaries of the study. During dissemination consider the following points from an intersectional gender lens:
At project closure, your project team should reflect upon and discuss successes, failures and lessons learned and re-plan accordingly. (See: Planning and conducting IR)
Some contemplative questions on the lessons learned include the following: