This jargon buster or glossary of words contains the definitions of some of the terms commonly used in public involvement in research. It is not a complete list of all the words you might come across. The definitions were developed for INVOLVE by TwoCan Associates working in consultation with a panel of researchers and a panel of people who use services.
The jargon buster can be searched by clicking on one of the letters below or browsing all terms.
With emancipatory research, people who use services, rather than professional researchers, have control of the whole research process. They plan and undertake the research, and interpret the findings. The main aim is always to empower people and improve people’s lives. ‘Professional’ researchers may be brought in as advisers or have specified roles within the project.
This is the process by which people who use services equip themselves with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to be able to take control over decisions and resources. It often involves people building confidence in their own strengths and abilities. It does not always mean people take control over all decisions or all resources.
Ethics are a set of principles that guide researchers who are carrying out research with people. Ethical principles are designed to protect the safety, dignity, rights and well-being of the people taking part. They include the requirement to ask each individual to give their informed consent to take part in a research project.
The job of an ethics committee is to make sure that research carried out respects the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of the people who take part. Increasingly ethics committee approval is needed for health and social care research. Ethics committee members include researchers and health care professionals as well as members of the public.
This involves assessing whether an intervention (for example a treatment, service, project, or programme) is achieving its aims. A project can be evaluated as it goes along or right at the end. An evaluation can measure how well the project is being carried out as well as its impact. The results of evaluations can help with decision-making and planning.
An evidence base is a collection of all the research data currently available about a health or social care topic, such as how well a treatment or a service works. This evidence is used by health and social care professionals to make decisions about the services that they provide and what care or treatment to offer people who use services.
This type of research allows researchers to explore cause and effect. For example, experimental research would be used to see whether a new drug is effective in reducing blood pressure. The research design (in this example a randomised controlled trial) will tell the researcher whether any reduction in blood pressure is definitely due to the drug.
The term ‘experts by experience’ refers to service users and carers, who are experts through their experience of illness or disability and services.