Quality, equity and partnerships in mixed methods and qualitative research during seven years of implementing the structured operational research and training initiative in 18 countries

Rony Zachariah, Arpine Abrahamyan, Stefanie Rust, Pruthu Thekkur, Mohammed Khogali, Ajay M V Kumar, Hayk Davtyan, Srinath Satyanarayana, Hemant D Shewade, Alexandre Delamou, Maria Zolfo, Veerle Hermans, Selma Dar Berger, Anthony Reid, Abraham Aseffa, Amol R Dongre, Anthony D Harries, John C Reeder

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Introduction: Qualitative studies are often inadequately reported, making it difficult to judge their appropriateness for decision making in public health. We assessed the publication characteristics and quality of reporting of qualitative and mixed-method studies from the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT), a global partnership for operational research capacity building. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of publications to assess the qualitative component using an adapted version of the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) checklist. Results: In 67 publications involving 18 countries, 32 journals and 13 public health themes, 55 were mixed-methods studies and 12 were qualitative studies. First authorship from low-and-middle-income (LMIC) countries was present in 64 (96%), LMIC last authorship in 55 (82%), and female first authorship in 30 (45%). The mean LMIC institutions represented per publication was five (range 1-11). Sixty-three (94%) publications were open access. Reporting quality was graded as 'good' to 'excellent' in 60 (89%) publications, 'fair' in five (8%) and 'poor' in two (3%). Conclusion: Most SORT IT publications adhered to COREQ standards, while supporting gender equity in authorship and the promotion of LMIC research leadership. SORT IT plays an important role in ensuring quality of evidence for decision making to improve public health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number305
JournalTropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Issue number10
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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