Conflicts of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare
Professionals and the public: power or partnership in health research?
Article first published online: 30 NOV 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 276–282, April 2012
How to Cite
Robinson, L., Newton, J. and Dawson, P. (2012), Professionals and the public: power or partnership in health research?. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 18: 276–282. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01572.x
Financial disclosure: We certify that no party having a direct interest in the results of the research supporting this article has or will confer a benefit on us or any organization with which we are affiliated
- Issue published online: 5 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 30 NOV 2010
- Accepted for publication: 5 August 2010
- conceptual model;
- public involvement;
Rationale, aims and objectives Involving members of the public in health research is said to produce higher quality research of greater clinical relevance. However, many of the anecdotal accounts of public involvement published in the academic literature to date have focused on the process of recruiting and involving members of the public and the effect of participation on these individuals rather than on how public involvement influenced the research process or outcomes. To strengthen the evidence base, there is clearly a need for more formal methods of capturing and documenting the impact of public involvement in health research.
Methods In the first half of this paper, we discuss the importance of public involvement in health research and critically review the literature to identify current barriers to its successful implementation. In the second half, we present a conceptual model for evaluating and reporting the impact of public involvement in health research. Developed from our examination of the academic literature, we provide empirical support for the model by applying it to our recent experience of conducting a clinically based falls prevention study with members of the public.
Results The conceptual model presented in this paper proposes key concepts and terminology that promote consistency when evaluating and reporting the impact of public involvement in health research. Reflecting on the experiential learning process, we demonstrate how the model promotes conceptual clarity whilst permitting the degree of flexibility required when working in a diverse culture such as the National Health Service.
Conclusion If more evidence can be provided that public involvement enhances research processes and outcomes, researchers may be less inclined to treat this initiative as something they have to do in order to satisfy funding agencies and regulatory bodies and actively embrace this phenomenon, producing accounts of successful public involvement that transcend current barriers to its successful implementation.