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Public Health

Resources for the Master of Public Health Program & public health research at NEOMED

Tips to Work Collaboratively in Teams

Getting started

  • Introduce yourselves to each other so that you are familiar with each others’ background.

  • Select a team leader.

The group/team process

  • The leader of the team should prepare an agenda in advance of each meeting.   

  • Each team member must make a commitment, without reservation, to the team process.

  • The first task is to define the nature and scope of the project, including responsibilities of individual members.

  • Develop a timeline, including who will do what tasks and when the tasks are to be accomplished.

  • Brainstorming techniques – expression of ideas without discussion or criticism – are often useful, especially in the early stages when the project is being defined.

  • Brainstorming and other team discussion can be facilitated by designating one member as scribe to summarize all discussion by summary statements on a flip chart.  This permits viewing, and reviewing, salient features of the discussion as it proceeds; it also greatly facilitates writing up a summary of the discussion afterwards, or presentation of the team’s thinking to others.  Categorize and evaluate the ideas so that a focus of direction can be developed.

  • All discussion should be aimed at clarification and suggestions before attempting persuasion.  Disagreements should be resolved by appeal to data rather than be debated and appeals to authority.  Team members must be good listeners.  Understanding points of view must precede discussion of their merits. 

Ways for your group to meet

  • Face-to-face at a central location.

  • During lunch over the distance learning system.  The interactive videoconferencing system remains operational during lunch, so group members can talk with each other at this time.

  • During times when the class meets at a central location.  There are at least a few times during a semester that the class meets together.  Agree ahead of time that your group will be meeting (before or after class, or during lunch).  You may need to check that a facility is open before or after class (ask the MPH program office, if you are unsure if a facility will be open before or after a particular time).

  • Teleconference – if someone in the group has a speaker phone and conference lines, then you can conference through the telephone.

  • Chat room on Springboard  

  • Emails (and lots of them).  You can create a group email and correspond via email.

  • Instant messaging (you can download from AOL at This is like the chat room concept.

  • Skype—you can download Skype ( for free and conference up to 25 total people from your computer. A headset microphone is necessary for this.

  • A combination of the above.