Substantially engaging stakeholders in research involves making extensive changes to the full life cycle of research, from the initial stage of selecting research priorities to the final stages of dissemination and implementation. Recent scholarship has explored logistical and methodological challenges, including the time, training and resources required for engagement. However, inadequate attention has been given to the intended ends or goals of engagement – what do we want engagement to achieve? An examination of historical case studies can yield important insights regarding engagement and its intended ends. Using historical perspective methods, we explore how clarity about the ends of engagement can inform the design of engagement efforts and lead to better outcomes. We present several lessons for improving stakeholder-engaged research.
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