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Welcome to the resource to help you plan and develop training and support

This resource is for people who are planning training and support for public involvement in research. It offers advice and guidance to help develop training and support packages specific to your context – whether that’s for members of the public, researchers or both.

This resource does not contain ‘off the shelf’ training programmes or a directory of training courses. We explain why this is the case in About this resource.

The first five sections of this online resource are also available as a downloadable report – Developing training and support for public involvement in research

Case Studies

This resource offers advice and guidance to help you develop your own training and support packages – whether that’s for members of the public, researchers or both. Training and support is best if it is tailored to each situation. Find out more about how this resource can help you.
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‘Training’ and ‘support’ are very broad terms which do not have universally agreed definitions. In this section, we explain what we mean by ‘training’ and ‘support’ and set out some guiding principles for approaches to training and support.
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This section provides general advice about planning training. We look at:

• Who benefits from training?
• What should training for members of the public cover?
• What should training for researchers cover?
• Different methods of training
• Issues to think about before you start – training
• Running training events or courses
• Budgeting for training events or courses
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The support needed by researchers and members of the public will very much depend on the situation. This section provides an overview of the different types of support that could be useful as well as the different ways of providing this support. It covers:

• What are support needs?
• Different types of support needs
• Different approaches to providing support
• Issues to think about before you start – support
• Budgeting for support
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A needs assessment (sometimes called a needs analysis) is a way to find out what training or support to provide. The aim is to fill any gap between the skills and knowledge people already have and the skills and knowledge they need for their involvement role. This section provides advice on how to carry out a needs assessment.
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Research panels are often made up of around a dozen members of the public and are usually attached to a research unit or organisation. They may help researchers develop and design research projects at the early stages. This section describes the training and support that helps to maximise the benefits of this approach and enables people to be successful in this role. It covers:

• What is a research panel?
• Training for research panel members
• Issues to think about before you start – training
• Support for research panel members
• Issues to think about before you start – support
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Project advisory groups are set up to advise on a specific research project. They are often small groups of four to six members of the public who help with all stages of the research. This section describes the training and support that helps to maximise the benefits of this approach and enables people to be successful in this role. It covers:

• What is a project advisory group?
• Training for advisory group members
• Issues to think about before you start – training
• Support for advisory group members
• Issues to think about before you start – support
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Steering groups are made up of experts and it is good practice for them to include at least two members of the public. A steering group oversees a research project to ensure that protocol is followed and provides advice and troubleshoots where necessary. This section describes the training and support that helps to maximise the benefits of this approach and enables people to be successful in this role. It covers:

• What is a steering group?
• Training for steering group members
• Issues to think about before you start – training
• Support for steering group members
• Issues to think about before you start – support
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Case Studies


Members of the public undertake reviews of grant funding applications for research funders. They can draw on their knowledge and experience of a health condition or their use of health and social care services to inform their review. This section describes the training and support that helps to maximise the benefits of this approach and enables people to be successful in this role. It covers:

• What is a public reviewer?
• Training for public reviewers
• Issues to think about before you start – training
• Support for public reviewers
• Issues to think about before you start – support
[read more]

Case Studies


A peer interviewer is a person who has direct experience of the topic being researched and carries out interviews with others with a similar experience. This section describes the training and support that helps to maximise the benefits of this approach and enables people to be successful in this role. It covers:

• What is a peer interviewer?
• Training for peer interviewers
• Issues to think about before you start – training
• Support for peer interviewers
• Issues to think about before you start – support
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