Volume 13 Issue 2 (2017)

Key Components of Collaborative Research in the Context of Environmental Health: A Scoping Review

Osnat Wine
Department of Paediatrics, University of Alberta
Sarah Ambrose
Department of Health Sciences, Carleton University
Sandy Campbell
John W. Scott Library, University of Alberta, Edmonton
Paul J. Villeneuve
Department of Health Sciences, Carleton University
Katharina Kovacs Burns
School of Public Health, University of Alberta
Alvaro Osornio Vargas
Department of Paediatrics, University of Alberta
Published February 12, 2018
  • environmental health,
  • collaborative research process,
  • scoping review,
  • interdisciplinary research,
  • knowledge co-production,
  • knowledge broker,
  • integrated knowledge translation
  • ...More


In a collaborative research process, the participation of interdisciplinary researchers and multi-sectoral stakeholders supports the co-creation, translation, and exchange of new knowledge. Following a scoping review methodology, we explored the collaborative research processes in the specific context of environment and human health research. Initially, our literature search strategy identified 1,328 publications. After several phases of reviewing and applying screening criteria to titles, abstracts, and full text, 45 publications were selected for final review. Data were charted by different topics and then collated, summarized, and analyzed thematically. From the different experiences and research approaches analyzed, we identified comprehensive details of the key components, facilitators, challenges, and best practices that impact the collaborative research process. Specifically, we identified the following seven emerging themes: (a) allocating time and resources, (b) addressing disciplinary and sectoral issues, (c) building relationships, (d) ensuring representation, (e) embedding participation in the research, (f) supporting ongoing collaboration, and (g) developing knowledge translation and exchange.