Language and grammar for research articles – day 5: language for discussing engagement and collaboration part 1

Language and grammar for research articles – day 5: language for discussing engagement and collaboration part 1

Free Preview
Language for discussing engagement and collaboration

If research is relevant to a particular community, then it is often necessary to use language to discuss community involvement. When describing research methods it is also useful to describe how researchers worked with other people or organisations. These words often have both a verb and a noun form. It is important to pay attention to the correct noun formation and pronunciation of these words for use in presentations and discussions.

Verbs → nouns with ‘-ment’ ending

With these verbs, the word stress stays the same in the noun form.

To align (meaning: to organise your activities or processes so that they work well with others)

  • Often followed by the preposition ‘with’
  • Pronunciation: the ‘g’ in this word is silent – /əˈlaɪn/

noun form: alignment

Increased efforts are required to obtain cross-country alignment.

To deploy (meaning: to use a piece of equipment or a technique)

These techniques can be widely deployed with few financial constraints.

  • Often used with the following adverbs to give more information: widely, easily, rapidly, effectively, sufficiently

noun form: deployment

To engage (meaning: to get someone’s attention)

In order to reach community members, it was necessary to first engage community leaders.

noun form: engagement

To enlist (meaning: to ask someone for their help or support)

Having enlisted the help of community leaders, we were able to reach out to various groups.

noun form: enlistment

To involve (meaning: to include someone or encourage them to take part in something)

noun form: involvement

The involvement of local practitioners was key to integrating these processes into current treatment plans.

Verbs → nouns (same spelling/pronunciation)

To focus (meaning: to pay attention to something and concentrate on it)

  • Often used with these adverbs: largely, mainly, primarily, entirely, narrowly
  • Often followed by the preposition ‘on’
  • Pronunciation: In both verb and noun form, the stress is on the longer /əʊ/ sound on the first syllable /ˈfəʊkəs/(not /ˈfɒkəs/)

We elected to focus our research on the most recent outbreak of the disease.

To leverage (meaning: to get as much advantage as you can from something that you have)

  • This word can be pronounced /ˈliːvərɪdʒ/ or /ˈlevərɪdʒ/

It became clear that practitioners needed to leverage local resources in order to meet patient needs.

To support (meaning: to help someone, to approve of an idea OR to show that a theory is true)

  • Often used with these adverbs: fully, partially, widely, openly, publicly, effectively
  • Often followed by these objects: aim, initiative, proposal, project, development, growth
  • The stress is on the second syllable in both the verb and noun forms. The vowel sound in the first syllable is a weak schwa sound /ə/ – /səˈpɔːt/

Although initial support for the project was tentative, input from community leaders led to greater participation.

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 [27]. 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. Egaging 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.


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 [27]. In the APOC program, epidemiological mapping techniques were used to map 12,000 miles of rivers for the program [29]. 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 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

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