Informal and Formal Gatekeepers

The analysis of the study population in relation to examining the optimal interventions for patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presupposes the necessity to obtain the approval from both formal and informal gatekeepers. Formal gatekeepers have the power to grant or deny access to the required research and data (Whicher, Miller, Dunham, & Joffe, 2014). They include local authorities who should approve the organization of the investigation as well as provide access to the necessary statistical information and the Head of the local ASD Center where the proposed interventions and data collection may be organized.

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Informal gatekeepers do not have the substantial formal power, but they influence the research process, and their approval is also necessary for achieving positive long-term results. They include independent ASD experts who can provide their assessment of the proposed research design and technical specialists who should agree to assist with collecting data, including patients’ smiling patterns (Lipson, 2014). Thus, the approval of informal gatekeepers is necessary for implementing the research project of the required magnitude and the highest quality.

The above-mentioned gatekeepers are identified through specifying the precise sequence of the necessary research stages. Moreover, the impact of formal gatekeepers is evident as their explicit approval is necessary for collecting data and analyzing them in a way beneficial to the community. The investigation of the existing legal and ethical requirements has facilitated the search for key formal gatekeepers (Lipson, 2014). As the examination of health dynamics, communication, and behavioral needs of patients with ASD as well as the search for appropriate treatment present a considerable interest to the community, the positive attitudes of local authorities and the Head of the ASD Center towards the designed program are desirable. The informal gatekeepers are identified after determining those professionals who should ensure the highest quality standards of the ASD research. Considering the significance of the study, the approval of informal gatekeepers is as important as that of formal ones.

Steps for Gaining Buy-In from Gatekeepers

There are several key steps that should be taken to gain buy-in from the identified gatekeepers. The first one is the ability to present the designed program and interventions in a coherent and logical form. It includes the identification of the urgent problem (the needs of patients with ASD), the specification of the methods with the concrete justification for every measure, and the request for approval or assistance from gatekeepers (Davis, Finke, & Hickerson, 2016). It seems that the recognition of the community needs associated with the proposed project as well as the complete adherence to all legal and ethical requirements may be sufficient to obtain the support from local authorities and the Head of the local ASD Center.

In relation to informal gatekeepers, it is reasonable to provide additional details about the project and research. In particular, the independent experts in the sphere of ASD-related problems should comprehend all details of the proposed project and provide their feedback on the feasibility of the developed measures and plans (Haas, 2015). Their approval is crucial as patients with ASD have special needs that should not be disturbed after data collection and the corresponding analysis (Davis et al., 2016). Technical specialists should also know the specific procedures used for collecting and interpreting patients’ reactions. As smile detection devices may be used for this purpose, technical specialists should possess the required qualifications and skills.

To summarize, the above-mentioned steps may require additional time and efforts, but the precise planning and correct interactions with gatekeepers may lead to positive results. In any case, both patients’ and community needs should be addressed. Only objective and reliable information should be provided to all parties involved as it is the foundation of the ethical research.

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