Co-producing research involves researchers, practitioners and public contributors collaborating to develop and conduct research. Everyone works together in more equal partnerships, sharing responsibility and power from the start to the end of a research project.
A researcher, a public contributor and a public involvement lead (Michelle Farr, Rosie Davies and Nick Leggett), with Gary Hickey from NIHR INVOLVE, collaborated on a small project at NIHR CLAHRC West to find out how to help everyone collaborate in a more equal way. We aimed to develop practical resources, so people could co-operate more effectively and share power, when co-producing health and social care research.
What we did
Sharing power is a key principle in co-producing research, identified in the NIHR INVOLVE guidance. Yet sharing power is a challenge, because there are many inequalities that affect how we work together, for example: hierarchical inequalities in university and health systems; hierarchies of types of evidence; and wider social and economic inequalities.
We invited public contributors, practitioners and researchers in our area to share insights from their own experiences of co-produced research,
at two workshops, run in late 2018. Twenty-five people took part, 12 were public contributors. We used co-production
principles and tried out some ways that gave people equal space to say what they wanted. We offered payment to all public
contributors working with us on the project. Quotes from the workshops included:
“It dug below the lip-service to co-production. It encouraged and supported me in crystallising my thoughts.”
“I thought that you did a great job of making it a space for everyone to share experiences as well as think more about how to support good co-production.”
A summary of ideas that could encourage co-production, coming out of the workshops, included:
As a result of these workshops, we applied for some funds from the University of Bristol Research Staff Development Fund to:
We were really pleased to be successful with this application, and now a larger group of researchers and public contributors is working to co-develop these resources. We’re collaborating with public contributors, researchers and practitioners who’ve been involved in co-production through further workshops. Our final products will be on NIHR CLAHRC West’s website and shared in other ways.
Contact Michelle Farr on email firstname.lastname@example.org or 0117 342 7279 or Rosie Davies on email Rosemary3.Davies@uwe.ac.uk or 0117 342 1248 .