Background Intersectionality, initially developed by Black feminists to foreground multiple and interlocking forms of oppression, is increasingly adopted in public health research to advance health equity. From an intersectional perspective, social locations such as sex/gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status are interwoven. Key to intersectionality-informed health research is the consideration of both structural conditions and lived experience, calling for complex and multifaceted approaches to studying health and illness.
Aim The aim of the collaborative research project AdvanceGender was to develop a practice-oriented and publicly accessible online platform that provides access to all developed methods and recommendations. While existing resources and recommendations have predominantly focused on the integration of an intersectional perspective into research methods, AdvanceGender deployed intersectionality as a vertical concept to inform selected aspects of the entire research and reporting process.
Methods The online platform is based on results of research that has been carried out in AdvanceGender 2017–2022. AdvanceGender is a mixed methods project investigating specific aspects of the public health action cycle. AdvanceRecruitment focused on study participation and recruitment, consisting of an interview study with cohort study participants and non-participants, as well as a narrative review and Multilevel Analysis of Individual Heterogeneity and Discriminatory Accuracy (MAIHDA) performed on population-based surveys. AdvanceDataAnalysis reviewed statistical methods and analytical strategies in quantitative health research from an intersectionality-informed and sex/gender sensitive perspective and tested different methods such as classification tree analysis for suitability to integrate intersectionality and gender-theoretical concepts into quantitative health research. AdvanceHealthReporting developed recommendations for national health reporting based on participatory methods with civil society stakeholders, documentary analyses and a Delphi study. Peer-reviewed results of the project were translated into recommendations for practitioners in a publicly accessible online platform.
Results Adopting a sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional perspective when describing representativeness of population-based studies is necessary since study participation depends on multiple interacting social locations. For data analysis, classification tree-based methods are particularly useful when describing health burden for intersecting social positions. Finally, public health reporting requires careful consideration of the structure of reports, the selection of topics, the inclusion of and collaboration with civil society stakeholders, the application of anti-discriminatory language and theoretically-informed interpretation of results when presenting findings from an intersectionality-informed perspective. The methods and recommendations developed by AdvanceGender provide a comprehensive and flexible resource for researchers and practitioners, aiming to apply sex/gender and intersectionality frameworks to provide a more precise, complex and nuanced assessment of existing health inequities.
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