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Concept mapping: harnessing the power of an expert panel to conceptualize relationships among 73 implementation strategies.

Powell BJ, Waltz TJ, Matthieu MM, Smith JL, Damschroder LJ, Proctor EK, Kirchner JE, Chinman MJ. Concept mapping: harnessing the power of an expert panel to conceptualize relationships among 73 implementation strategies. Paper presented at: National Institutes of Health / AcademyHealth Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation; 2014 Dec 9; Bethesda, MD.


After obtaining the compilation of discrete implementation strategies in the earlier phase of the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) project, we were faced with a practical challenge of how to realistically ask experts to consider 73 different implementation strategies when making recommendations. One strategy to reduce the cognitive burden of a complex multicomponent recommendation development process is to organize strategies by similarity. Concept mapping is a method that allows you to engage an expert panel in a structured task that can be completed asynchronously and online. For this study, expert panel members were given a deck of virtual "cards", each with one of ERIC's 73 implementation strategies. Participants then sorted these cards into piles on the basis of similarity and then rated each strategy in terms of its relative importance and relative feasibility considering all 73 implementation strategies. The benefit of concept mapping is the ability to quantitatively characterize how your target audience conceptualizes a wide range of topics. For the ERIC project, concept mapping provided us with a structured, participant driven approach to organizing our data into 9 expert-derived categories. This organization scheme was then used to structure additional expert panel tasks. This presentation will focus on concept mapping as a tool for characterizing an expert panel's shared understanding of key concepts to be used in a subsequent recommendation process. While data from the ERIC project will be used to illustrate this method, discussion will include how this method can be used to support active and structured stakeholder engagement in a variety of dissemination and implementation activities.

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