I’ve started recruiting for my first (of two) major study (whoohoo!) – a series of participatory workshops to design a psychosocial screening app for young people to use in general practice: with young people, GPs, practice staff, and – if necessary – parents.

And I feel good! (and today, I’m refusing to put a qualifier on this!)

I’m conscious that I often (mostly!) use this blog to write about my anxieties and frustrations of PhD life – that’s not such a bad thing. It’s not intended to have a wide audience and it’s very much more about getting into the habit of writing, increasing my critical writing and ‘writing as thinking’.

Perhaps I feel good because I am doing something that I have done before – running participatory workshops. Granted, previously I’ve always been part of a collaborative team and in a professional context. But still! Perhaps it’s also because I get out of the isolated vortex of literature and get some good hard data that will be useful and relevant in the real world. And have some fun seeing people co-create solutions to problems that can have a significant impact on their work and/or health.Young and Well CRC_Toolkit_1

One of the great things about with participatory design is that it puts explores technology use within its context, which opens up new issues for how it will be used in situ. At the core of the workshops are exploring the following:

  • How can the app help young people feel more engaged in, and aware of, their health and healthcare?
  • How can the app be designed to empower young people in their consultations with their GP? (not just the app itself but where and how they use it)
  • What are the barriers and facilitators for the app to be integrated (normalised) into routine practice for GPs and practice staff?

I have been fortunate that ethics was very straight forward. The biggest learning has been about the process for recruiting GPs and practice staff-you know, people need to plan and fit this into their busy lives (whodathunkit?!). And that despite the awesomeness of participatory workshops, this isn’t necessarily going to be appealing to practice staff (I have been told by other general practice researchers and GPs)– they simply don’t have time or inclination to travel from work into the CBD in their own time. So I’m thinking about how I streamline some activities for quick and dirty outreach.

I think my tight timeline will take a hit and will have major implications for developing the app and the next study – a case study, which by definition needs time to implement and whose design still needs attention (taking me into third year, by when I am told ‘data collection and analysis must be done!’).

But for now – I’m enjoying the excitement of organising the workshop activities and ensuring I explore and capture key insights and outputs.


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