By Rosie Davies and Kath Maguire
We are both service user researchers studying public involvement in research for a PhD, and this sometimes feels like a road to confusion. Taking the journey to become a research professional can feel in opposition to our identities as a service user and carer and poses difficult questions about who we are and our place in the world of involvement. Some professionals seem to feel it is wrong for members of the public to take on researcher roles, describing such people as ‘amateur’ researchers; some researchers want ‘naive’ service users, patients and carers, not people with involvement experience. Where do such perspectives leave us? Can we retain our identities as people who feel changed by our encounters with health services and gain an identity where we are accepted as professional researchers, or are we on a journey that makes us unacceptable as both researchers and members of the public? These questions are at the heart of a workshop that we will be running at the INVOLVE Conference in November.
These are real questions which we continue to explore, but some of the issues we have identified already are:
Our challenge is to both remain ‘us’ and become ‘them’ and avoid being marginalised and disempowered! We plan to develop our thinking about these tangled issues in the hope of finding a deeper understanding.
Contact: Kath Maguire, PhD student, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry or Rosie Davies, PhD student, University of the West of England
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Rosemary3.Davies@uwe.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 3288796 (Rosie Davies)