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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Jonathan Tummons

Kits, O., Angus, C., MacLeod, A. & Tummons, J. (2019). Progressive research collaborations and the limits of soft power. Perspectives on Medical Education 8(1): 28-32.

Author(s) from Durham


Collaboration in diverse teams is a central topic area in medical education, health research, and healthcare. As medical education researchers we implemented an internal grant policy to develop a progressive research partnership based on widely accepted guidelines for responsible conduct of research. Our intention was to proactively manage and guide group expectations around issues such as access to data and authorship. Our policy was based on ‘soft power’ principles, using the persuasiveness of ideas, relationships and inducements to encourage people to ‘want what you want.’ This article shares how we developed and implemented the policy, experienced first-hand the limits of soft power, and it explicates some of the lessons learned.