Identifying Research Priorities for Psychosocial Support Programs in Humanitarian Settings

For which topic were research priorities identified?

psychosocial support programs in humanitarian settings

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

international

Why was it conducted at all?

Given the range and reach of psychosocial support (PSS) interventions in humanitarian settings, within the continuum of mental health and psychosocial support services, evaluation of their impact is critical. Understanding stakeholders' perspectives on which PSS interventions of unknown effectiveness warrant rigorous evaluation is essential to identify research priorities.

What was the objective?

to facilitate a process with stakeholders to reach consensus on psychosocial support interventions that are of high priority for further research based on existing evidence and stakeholders' opinions

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 7 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

fall 2016 - fall 2018

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?

meeting; webinar

How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: stakeholder consultation via meetings: findings from literature review shared, stakeholder feedback regarding refining review criteria and focus gained. Step 2: group prioritization activities: via webinars, using nominal group technique, participants completed first round of voting by selecting top 5 priorities, resulting in refined list of 33 research topics, next round of voting on consolidated list, participants were asked to select top 3 priorities, both rounds of voting resulting in consolidated 7-item priority list

Which stakeholders took part?

Individuals working directly on program implementation, research, and/or policy related to PSS programs. 109 participants: 55 individuals from INGOs, 17 individuals from NGOs, 19 individuals working at research centers, institutes and universities, 6 independent MHPSS consultants, 4 working in other type or organizations such as civil societies or social enterprises, 3 working in faith-based organizations, 5 people working for government bodies from different countries.

How were stakeholders recruited?

Participants were recruited from own connections, the IASC Reference Group for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies (IASC RG MHPSS), and recommendations from the Steering Committee and Advisory Board and via a snowballing method.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders not only participated but were also actively involved in the research prioritization process: They were part of an advisory board and a steering group. The advisory board consisted of 16 members (amongst others: Peace in Practice, UNHCR, UNICEF, World Vision International). The steering group consisted of 6 members (amongst others: psychosocial support services).