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Doing Collaborative Health Promotion Research in a Complex Setting: Lessons Learned from the COMPLETE Project in Norway


Health promotion research experiences two parallel, yet different, trends within evaluation of interventions. The first is that research should be more societally relevant through collaboration with, and for, society; the second is to determine the effects of specific interventions by utilizing randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We aim to discuss the synergies and tensions involved in the process of implementing COMPLETE – a collaborative health promotion project in upper secondary education involving an RCT and a process evaluation. COMPLETE investigated whether systematic work in a class and school psychosocial environment affected students’ experience of the psychosocial environment, mental health, school performance, absenteeism and completion of upper secondary education. An important prerequisite for the project was that research should be developed and carried out together with practice and not just in or on practice. The results showed the importance of a having a project council including all stakeholders to enable elaborating and negotiating worldviews and perceptions of knowledge, as well as research ethics, among the stakeholders. This was important to resolve the tension between the results from different scientific and theoretical approaches and stakeholders view of the “objective” and the “experienced” change, to reach a common agreement on the results in the project.


  • Psychosocial environment
  • Collaborative research
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Upper secondary
  • Multi-tier intervention

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Larsen, T., Holsen, I., Urke, H.B., Anvik, C.H., Waldahl, R.H. (2022). Doing Collaborative Health Promotion Research in a Complex Setting: Lessons Learned from the COMPLETE Project in Norway. In: Potvin, L., Jourdan, D. (eds) Global Handbook of Health Promotion Research, Vol. 1. Springer, Cham.

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