Table 2

Tips for Assessing and Reporting Contextual Factors

Engage diverse perspectives
 Research participants (organizations, patients and clinicians, investigative team)
 Relevant theoretical models
 Prior research
 Potential end users of study findings
Consider multiple levels
 From the macro to the micro
 Interactions between levels
Evaluate the evolution of contextual factors over time
 Initial conditions and history
 Changes over the course of the study
Look at both formal and informal systems and culture
 Peer across the boundaries
 Look for (mis)alignments
 Be sensitive to the locus of power
 Appraise internal and external motivations
 Evaluate resources, support, and financial and other incentives
Assess (often nonlinear) interactions between contextual factors and both the process and outcome of studies
Report within the body of scientific articles key contextual factors that others would need to know (1) to understand what happened in the study and why, and (2) to be able to transport and knowledgeably reinvent the project in another situation