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Journal Articles European Journal of Public Health Year : 2019

How to build the partnership between researchers and field actors?


In health promotion, the partnership between researchers and practitioners (field actors) is necessary for multiple reasons: to build intervention research together, to share our knowledge and experience, to produce new knowledge and experience, and to improve the quality of interventions, decisions... and research. In order to build this partnership and to achieve these goals, two dimensions were explored during several mixed workshops (researchers and field actors) organized in Brittany (France): their reciprocal perceptions, and what they can mutually bring to each other. During the first workshop, a facilitation technique called “the figure,” (which health educators use when they need to underscore the perceptions of a group of professionals about a specific population) shed light on mutual misconceptions and helped rectify them. During the following workshops, both groups identified their common assets, resources, difficulties and stakes. They also highlighted what they could bring to each other. Indeed, the relationship between researchers and field actors is usually considered in terms of the contributions of research to actions. However, field actors are more than simple “users” of a knowledge produced by others, they are also “producers’ of knowledge. They can contribute to define research questions, issues, hypotheses (with a social twist...); challenge the relevance and feasibility of research; promote the link and the understanding between the two separate worlds of practice and research; encourage the making of certain research protocols; facilitate experimentation; check the validity of the research projects in terms of social usefulness; make research more visible to field professionals and policy makers; and support knowledge transfer and exchange. The ways in which the partnership between researchers and health promotion actors actually enrich both categories of professionals, are detailed in this presentation. Key messages Reciprocal representations of researchers and practitioners in the field of health promotion must be highlighted to lay the foundations of their partnership. In health promotion, knowledge transfer must be understood as an exchange between researchers and field actors, the latter being experts in their domain of intervention and producers of knowledge.

Dates and versions

hal-02447199 , version 1 (21-01-2020)



C. Ferron, R Joanny, E Le Grand, Marion Porcherie, S Rohou. How to build the partnership between researchers and field actors?. European Journal of Public Health, 2019, 29 (Supplement_4), ⟨10.1093/eurpub/ckz186.536⟩. ⟨hal-02447199⟩
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