Including 'advisory networks' in a participatory study on homelessness in Durban, South Africa: a research note

SOURCE: International Journal of Social Research Methodology
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): C.Groenewald, F.Timol, C.Desmond
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11167
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/15097

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The value of social science research lies within the development and implementation of study designs that adequately address complex research questions. This not only relates to the sampling strategies employed, but also the quality and applicability of the research team and associated networks. In this paper, we demonstrate the importance of involving a diverse study team in our community-based participatory action research study on homelessness in Durban, South Africa. We focus specifically on the usefulness of involving advisory networks in our study, which consisted of stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. The diversity in our advisory networks emerged as critically important in the co-designing and implementation of our research. Each network offered unique contributions to the study design which enhanced the credibility of our study. We also found that the advisory networks facilitated cross-sector collaboration and knowledge sharing through the establishment of targeted task teams. Given this, the design and implementation of future studies with marginalised populations can be strengthened by involving advisory networks from the inception phase of the project. This paper thus expands the methodological scholarship on advisory networks, which can be transferred to all studies that are interested in adopting a multivoiced approach to social science research.