University Of Tasmania
151727 - Applying systems leadership and participatory action research.pdf (1.26 MB)
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Applying systems leadership and participatory action research in developing a water contamination management tool

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 10:38 authored by Grey, P, Silvana BettiolSilvana Bettiol, Quinn, W

Objective: This research used systems leadership to explore stakeholder engagement regarding requirements, incentives and barriers to adopting a faecal source tracking method to identify contamination sources in surface waters.

Setting: The research comprised two branches, one quantitative, conducted in a food and water laboratory; the other qualitative, conducted within stakeholder organisations and meeting premises.

Participants: Ten stakeholder representatives participated in semi-structured interviews and ten in a focus group. Seven individuals participated in both activities while three who were interviewed were replaced by alternate representatives for the focus group.

Design: A multimethod participatory action research project was completed, with a quantitative trial of a microbial source tracking method conducted concurrently with two iterations of qualitative research into the needs of the stakeholder system through semi-structured interviews and a focus group.

Results: Thematic analysis of stakeholder interviews yielded key incentive and barrier themes, while the laboratory trial created a comparison library and tested the efficacy of the laboratory method. The focus group further explored key themes and identified requirements for collaborative effort across the system, and the need to address misinterpretation of statistical associations.

Conclusion: Systems leadership was effective in exploring stakeholder interest in the proposed faecal source tracking method. Two iterations of qualitative research helped to identify the needs of individual stakeholders, and then develop collective strategies for addressing the critical incentives and barriers.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Rural Health






Tasmanian School of Medicine


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2022 The Authors. Australian Journal of Rural Health published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of National Rural Health Alliance Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, ( which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Water services and utilities; Technological and organisational innovation; Health protection and disaster response