- What is public involvement in research?
- Getting involved for the first time
- What can I do?
- What difference does involvement make?
- How can I get advice and support?
- About the interviewees
More on involvement
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What makes 'good' public involvement?
"It's about being part of the decision-making process."
How can you tell whether an involvement opportunity is a good one? This page gives you some advice on what to look for.
We asked our interviewees to give you some pointers on what to look for. You might also find our list of useful questions to ask helpful.
Making room for different perspectives
- Kati Turner is a Service User Researcher
- Steve Gillard is a Researcher who works in mental health
“Some of it was uncovered through tensions in the team, so when we brought our different interpretations we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. But neither did we attempt to smooth those things over, we tried to understand why we interpreted things differently and what that brought to the research”.
“I think that we were lucky in that we’d established, if you like, a really good way of working as a team at the beginning where we were all able to meet as a group, listen to each other, accept that we had different views about things, but allow them all to co-exist if you like. No one view seemed to have precedence.
So when it came to talking about what we’d made of what people had said to us, there were quite a lot of differences, but for me it was really quite rewarding to sit with a group of people, and hear different perspectives and have issues that we might disagree on, but there was actually room for all of that to exist, and to sort of bind together if you like in a whole so it wasn’t as if we had to have one consensus or one view that was the right view, it was well we’ve talked to a lot of people, this is what they say, and they’ve said lots of different things, and we as a team have made lots of different things of it, and I think as Steve says that made the actual findings of the research much richer as a result."
Collaboration and compromise
Truly collaborative working in research requires an element of compromise from everyone.
“To me collaborative working is about making a compromise as part of the learning process, so it’s about knowing that I think that we all have to make compromises, we all bring something to the table, but by working collaboratively there is a certain amount of compromise to be made, because you don’t always get your own way and you might feel incredibly strong and passionate about something, and believe you me we’ve had some impassioned conversations about certain things to do with the research, and part of the learning process for me is to realise that compromise is essential.
You don’t always get exactly what you want, but that’s part of work anyway, and I think I like that collaborative involvement, because to me it isn’t just about one voice being heard, it’s about people working together because I think that hasn’t happened before in mental health services, and I think if we can model that in the research team, and produce findings that have been a part - a product of that then we model good practice”.
Meaningful public involvement
Malcolm Harrison is a member of the public with extensive experience of getting involved in health research at a local and national level.
Here, he talks about the importance of being part of the decision-making process.
“Again to use an expression I think it’s about being part of the decision making process, you can be part of that directly or indirectly, but you’re part of it.
You’re not a patient, you’re not participating in the research, but you are invited to be part of the decisions about the research, what takes place and how it’s done and so forth because as a member of the public you’ve maybe, if it’s cancer research, you’ve maybe had cancer in the past or you’ve got some other expertise, viewpoint, perspective that you can offer.
That would enhance the whole approach to that particular research, and I think it’s that that would differentiate the ticking the box exercise and proper involvement”.
Page last edited: 25 November 2011