Involving older people in research: methodological issues


Fiona Ross Nursing Research Unit King's College London James Clerk Maxwell Building 57 Waterloo Road London SE1 8WA UK E-mail:


The policy imperative to increase public participation in health and social care research, planning and service delivery raises significant questions about optimum approaches, methods and the extent to which this policy can influence change in practice. This paper highlights the key policy literature on user involvement and participatory research methods to establish the context for a partnership research project exploring perceptions of risk in relation to falls from the perspectives of older people, carers, and health and social care professionals. The paper reports the methods used in developing user involvement in the research at a number of levels, including project management, and a consumer panel working alongside the research team and influencing the dissemination in local falls prevention strategies. The authors draw out the issues related to the context and method of involvement, and discuss the impact on research quality and local service development in health and social care.