What do you think?
Your experience is valuable
Don’t forget that your knowledge and experience is important.
It is your experience as a patient, carer or service user that will help to make research relevant. You are not expected to be a scientist or to understand all the technical aspects of the research, but the research does need to be relevant to people like you. Sometimes asking the simple question will be the key to resolving a whole problem.
You will learn as you go along and some organisations will offer training and support or a mentor. In other organisations you might need to ask for help if you feel you need it.
Think about the skills you already have for example you may be good at working with numbers or writing or listening and talking to people, making them feel valued.
How your experience can help researchers
In this short clip, Alison talks about how your experiences can help researchers and improve research projects.
Transcript"One of the things that I think is really important is to realise how your personal experience of either perhaps a particular health problem or a condition or of using particular services, how your experience can really benefit research and researchers.
It's partly about giving people that additional insight into your personal experience, that additional insight into the thing that is being researched that can actually help to make the research so much more meaningful and I think relevant to practice as it will perhaps benefit from the research.
So you don't have to be a scientist, you don't have to have statistics in your background, or any particular skills of that kind to get involved and to actually give your opinion about what it feels like to be receiving a service, what it feels like to be going into the doctor's surgery, or feeling sometimes quite disempowered in that situation.
You don't have to have any particular training or skills to be able to be able to offer your personal insight to the researchers to enable them really to ask the right questions when they come to do their research, or to understand something of what they find out when they are interviewing people.
You can help them to understand perhaps why people have said a particular thing, why they have said that they prefer one service better than another. You know, that kind of experience is invaluable."
Page last edited: 25 November 2011