Collaboration involves an ongoing partnership between you and the members of the public you are working with, where decisions about the research are shared. For example, members of the public might collaborate with the researchers on developing the research grant application, be members of the study advisory group and collaborate with researchers to disseminate the results of a research project.

This is a broad approach that can be used in a wide range of different research.

Collaboration requires commitment, openness and flexibility and it is important to plan and prepare adequately (see briefing note five on planning and preparation).

Benefits of collaboration:

  • helps to ensure research remains focused and relevant
  • skills and perspectives of the public and the researchers can complement one another
  • helps to ensure the research is ethical
  • can help with recruitment and informed consent.

Challenges to collaboration:

  • time consuming and involves additional cost
  • researchers and the public may require training or support
  • researchers need to be flexible and willing to share the control of the research.

For further information on public involvement at different stages of the research cycle see briefing note eight

Find out more about collaborating with members of the public in research:

Public involvement in systematic reviews: Supplement to the briefing notes for researchers (INVOLVE 2012)

Public involvement in clinical trials: Supplement to the briefing notes for researchers (INVOLVE 2012)

NIHR Senior Investigators: Leaders for public involvement in research (INVOLVE 2014)

Exploring the impact: examples of public involvement in research

Turning the pyramid upside down: examples of public involvement in social care research (INVOLVE 2010)

INVOLVE database of research projects involving members of the public in research