Briefing notes for researchers

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This online resource holds our ten briefing notes for researchers on how to involve members of the public in research. It also includes:

  • supplements with detailed information on public involvement in specific types of research and on specific involvement activities
  • case studies showing how members of the public have been involved in research projects
  • templates of useful documents such as job descriptions and terms of reference for committees and steering groups.

The Briefing notes are also available as a downloadable pdf

Briefing note one: Introduction Close

These briefing notes are for researchers new to public involvement in research and just starting to consider how best to involve members of the public in their work. They will also be of interest to researchers with experience of public involvement in research who are looking to update and ‘refresh’ their knowledge and skills and helpful to others interested in public involvement in research.
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Briefing note two: What is public involvement in research? Close

INVOLVE defines public involvement in research as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. [read more]

Briefing note three: Why involve members of the public in research? Close

As well as the practical benefits of helping to ensure research quality and relevance, the underlying reasons for involving members of the public in research are also informed by broader democratic principles of citizenship, accountability and transparency. [read more]

Briefing note four: Why members of the public get involved in research Close

Members of the public get involved in research for a variety of personal and social reasons. For some, these are linked to personal experiences of health or social care services and a desire to bring about change in the quality of care or to improve treatments either for themselves or for others with a similar condition.
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Briefing note six: Who should I involve and how do I find people? Close

Who should I involve?
In deciding who best to involve it is important to think about the knowledge and perspective that you are looking for from members of the public, and what support you are able to give to people who you plan to involve.

Even if your research is about informing practitioners about approaches to practice, the end user of the research will be the person receiving the practice. [read more]

Briefing note seven: Approaches to public involvement in research Close

In the past we have used the terms consultation, collaboration and user controlled to describe different levels of involving people in research. Over time it has become clear that, in practice, research projects can include a combination of these three and also that the boundaries between them are not clear cut. It is therefore more helpful to describe them as approaches rather than levels. [read more]

Briefing note eight: Ways that people can be involved in the research cycle Close

Members of the public are getting involved in a whole range of research activities. This briefing note considers the different ways members of the public can get involved in the stages of the research cycle and a section on things you need to think about if you are organising a meeting. [read more]

Case Studies


Briefing note nine: What to do if things go wrong Close

In these briefing notes we have provided information to help you think through how best to involve people in your research. However, there will occasionally be times when things go wrong. [read more]

Briefing note ten: Where to go for further information Close

Information on organisations and resources for further information on public involvement in research
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