Background: While Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is encouraged throughout the research process, engagement is typically limited to intervention design and post-analysis stages. There are few approaches to participatory data analyses within complex health interventions.
Methods: Using qualitative data from a feasibility randomised controlled trial (RCT), this proof-of-concept study tests the value of a new approach to participatory data analysis called Participatory Theme Elicitation (PTE). Forty excerpts were given to eight members of a youth advisory PPI panel to sort into piles based on their perception of related thematic content. Using algorithms to detect communities in networks, excerpts were then assigned to a thematic cluster that combined the panel members' perspectives. Network analysis techniques were also used to identify key excerpts in each grouping that were then further explored qualitatively.
Results: While PTE analysis was, for the most part, consistent with the researcher-led analysis, young people also identified new emerging thematic content.
Conclusions: PTE appears promising for encouraging user led identification of themes arising from qualitative data collected during complex interventions. Further work is required to validate and extend this method.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT02455986 . Retrospectively Registered on 21 May 2015.
Keywords: Network analysis; Participatory analysis; Patient and public involvement; Trials; User involvement.