Evidence Library

Title: User controlled research and empowerment.
Author: Evans, C. & Fisher, M.
Date Published: 1999
Reference: In: W. Shera & L. Wells (Eds.), Empowerment practice in social work: Developing richer conceptual foundations (pp 348-369). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
Are service users or carers authors: Yes


This chapter argues that empowerment of service users risks being merely collaboration unless service users define empowerment for themselves. Empowerment tends to be defined by professionals. For empowerment to improve the lives of service users it must reflect service users' experiences and issues.

In the context of research, the authors argue that the role of service users as reserchers needs to be recognised as a means of achieving empowerment. They emphasise that only user controlled research ensures that service users have power over the way their experiences are defined.

The chapter also discusses:

  • the question of what counts as knowledge
  • the limitations of co-operative and participatory research compared to user-controlled or emancipatory research
  • an example of user controlled research
    how to carry out user controlled research - in terms of funding, managing, designing and executing the research
  • the benefits of user controlled research - improving recruitment, the quality of data, and interpretation of results
  • the role of academic researcher as ally and facilitator

Related entry: none currently available

Categories: social care
Undertaking research
Analysing and interpreting
impact on research
impact of public involvement
reflecting on public involvement in research
book chapter

Date Entered: 2007/02/27

Additional Info: