Language and grammar – day 1: language for discussing engagement and collaboration part 2

Language and grammar – day 1: language for discussing engagement and collaboration part 2

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This lesson continues looking at language that can be used to discuss engagement and collaboration in academic articles. As with the last lesson, the words in this lesson often have both a verb and a noun form. This language is useful for verbal discussions of your work so pay attention to any notes given on sounds and word stress to improve your pronunciation.

Verbs → nouns with ‘-tion’ ending

With these verbs, the word stress changes when we use the noun form. Word stress for words ending in ‘-tion’ is always on the syllable just before the ‘-tion’ (the penultimate syllable).

To collaborate (meaning: to work with another person/organisation)

To collaborate is often followed by the prepositions ‘with’ and ‘on’.

We collaborated with local researchers on this investigation.

noun form: collaboration

To communicate (meaning: to share thoughts, information or ideas with another person)

noun form: communication

Effective communication was achieved via local channels.

Pronunciation: In UK English pronunciation, there is an intrusive /j/ sound after the /m/ sound in both of these words – /kəˈmjuːnɪkeɪt/ and /kəˌmjuːnɪˈkeɪʃən/

To concentrate (meaning: to focus most of your attention on something)

Our research primarily concentrated on rural areas.

  • Often used with the following adverbs to give more information: entirely, purely, largely, primarily
  • Often followed by the preposition ‘on’
  • Often used in the passive form – to show that where is something mainly occurs/exists

Cases were concentrated along the coastline.

noun form: concentration

To facilitate (meaning: to make something possible)

  • Often used with these adverbs: actively, directly
  • Often followed by these objects: collaboration, communication, development, discussion, learning, understanding

As trusted members of the community, local leaders were able to directly facilitate discussion and assist in developing a clearer understanding of the issues at hand.

noun form: facilitation

To mobilize (meaning: to encourage people to work together to achieve something OR to use the resources available to achieve something)

  • Often used with the adverbs: rapidly, immediately, effectively, successfully
  • Often followed by these objects: forces, voters, resources, opposition

E.g. During the most recent outbreak, they successfully mobilized resources across the region.

noun form: mobilization

To participate (meaning: to take part)

  • Often used with the adverbs: actively, directly, fully, willingly, effectively
  • Often followed by the preposition ‘in’

In order to allow local leaders to participate more effectively in discussions, only local languages were used.

noun form: participation (action), participant (person)

Our initial research was limited due to a lack of willing participants.

Other useful nouns for describing engagement and collaboration:

A partner (meaning: a person or organisation that works with another)

  • Pronunciation: the ‘t’ in this word is not usually pronounced. /ˈpɑːtnə/

The study was conducted by our UK-based research group and our partners in the USA.

 A stakeholder (meaning: a person or group that is affected by how well a plan or system performs)

By discussing outcomes in detail with local stakeholders, a clear picture of the project’s impact was obtained.

 An initiative (meaning: something that is needed to deal with a problem)

  • Often used with these adjectives: local, regional, national, global, community-based, collaborative, government-funded

Following the success of a community-based initiative to improve access to healthcare, further funding was awarded to the clinic.

 A network (meaning: organisations or groups of people that work together or are connected in some way)

  • Often used with these adjectives: global, national, extensive, complex, support
  • Often used with these verbs: establish, develop, construct, manage, form, join, expand

By expanding on the existing network of stakeholders, researchers were able to bypass many logistical issues.

Examples of the language from this lesson can be found in the following extract.

Rethinking malaria: Governance lessons from other disease programs

Community engagement

Community engagement and participation were critical for these global disease programs. Top-down approaches alone, have limited effectiveness. For the polio eradication program, health worker mobilization played an impactful role in providing human resources that went house-to-house in communities with existing polio cases or had low coverage. Community participation with the smallpox program was considered to be strong [6]. Gaining the support of the community leaders was an important step towards community acceptance. Polio and smallpox efforts in Nigeria, for example, were successful because community/religious leaders trusted by communities were enlisted and engaged as part of the program. For the APOC program, extensive community engagement and involvement in the implementation of Community-Directed Treatment with Mectizan (ComDT) contributed to its success. Engaging the community should not be limited to a specific disease program but involve building capabilities to provide broader health services. In the smallpox eradication program, there were combined mobilization efforts with other community initiatives (e.g., neonatal care). For the polio eradication program, the training the community volunteers received included training on disease surveillance and cold chain management.

Malaria programs should engage communities and community leaders in ways that complement existing top-down approaches such as campaigns to distribute nets. Communities need to understand and own the issues and the interventions. For instance, do communities understand and own vector control mechanisms to destroy breeding sites in their environment? Do communities also understand and own the goal of malaria elimination? There should also be continuous communication and collaboration with communities as real partners in the conceptualization, design, and implementation of malaria elimination programs.

Data use for engagement and decision-making

The availability of real-time, high-quality data for surveillance and monitoring was a critical success factor for the disease eradication programs. In the polio eradication program, over 20,000 facilities were included in the surveillance network and an emphasis was placed on surveillance to track outbreaks, facilitated by the surveillance system’s computerization. In the APOC program, epidemiological mapping techniques were used to map 12,000 miles of rivers for the program. The COVID-19 response also effectively leveraged technology and data. Real time epidemiological data was used to efficiently align program strategy and deploy interventions in many countries. The smallpox program used surveillance data to seek out cases and then vaccination efforts were concentrated to those in their proximity and their contacts [30]. The surveillance strategy helped focus vaccination on the places where it was most likely needed, rather than laboring to achieve implausibly perfect coverage everywhere. This contributed to eradication’s ultimate success. Data were also used effectively to engage the population and various stakeholder groups in a simple and compelling manner. For instance, the COVID response programs in different countries used simple dashboards that were updated daily, to inform and engage citizens on the evolution of the pandemic, the progress made, and risks, for instance, epidemiological assessments informed the control measures that were implemented and the epidemic in Wuhan was under control within 100 days.

This extract is taken from: Ohiri K, Aniebo I, Akinlade O (2022) Rethinking malaria: Governance lessons from other disease programs. PLOS Global Public Health 2(9): e0000966. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000966

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Lesson tags: language and grammar for research articles, language for engagement and collaboration
Back to: English for Scientists