The involvement of stakeholders from outside academia is key to producing sustainability science. Several challenges need to be addressed in the development of a partnership between research and practice. Many stakeholders from different social systems are involved in disability management practice. They may not share the same understanding of the issues and solutions at stake, causing unbalanced problem ownership within the group. To help reduce this barrier, we sought to build a tool that would establish a common vocabulary between researchers and stakeholders.Methods
A multimethod approach was used. A set of definitions for key terms was developed with an advisory committee (researchers and stakeholders). A Web-based survey with closed and open questions was then used to assess the level of agreement with, first, the inclusion of these terms and then with their definitions. Terms whose inclusion had more than 70% agreement were retained. In cases of disagreement with a definition, participants suggested modifications. Terms whose definitions had less than 70% agreement were discussed in the next phase. Finally, a series of group consensus meetings were conducted to discuss the suggested modifications emerging from the survey and to determine the final definitions of the terms.Results
A total of 8 multidisciplinary researchers, 2 postdoctoral students, and 12 stakeholders representing patients, employers, unions, healthcare professionals, and legal and insurance systems completed the survey and participated in the consensus groups. A consensus for inclusion (≥70% of agreement) was reached for all 79 initially proposed terms. Of the 79 terms, 20 needed clarification (≤70% of agreement). These were discussed in three consensus group meetings. At the end, a final version of the definitions of all 79 terms was produced.Discussion
This multimethod approach ensures the use of the same reference points, regardless of participants’ different concerns.