What is Public Involvement in research and why is it important?
For research to be meaningful, relevant and cost effective, there is an increasing appreciation that the public should be involved in all stages of research, from decisions on what should be researched, to how research should be carried out and reported.
Public Involvement is the active contribution of patients and members of the public to help shape research. Members of the public can use their personal knowledge and experience of health conditions, illness or health care services to help professionals deliver research that makes a difference to people’s lives. Public Involvement does not in this sense mean the recruitment of members of the public as the subjects of research or as study participants.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and most NIHR partner funding programmes require strong evidence of Public Involvement in any submitted applications. It is considered good practice to involve members of the public as early as possible in the research design process. Patients and members of the public can provide invaluable input in a number of ways.
- Helping to develop research ideas and funding applications;
- contributing to the design of research;
- offering ongoing advice through membership of project steering groups or as grant co-applicants;
- support researchers to develop clear, public facing, materials e.g. patient information sheets or questionnaires;
- conducting research e.g. interviewing participants;
- helping to disseminate findings.