Issues to think about before you start – training
Make use of the existing skills of group members. Formal training may not be necessary but group members may need advice on applying their skills to the specific research situation. Group members with IT skills may be able to help with data collection, setting up web-based discussions for the group or using social media and so on. Those with experience of organising events can help with organising conferences or seminars.
Be creative about access to training. Budgets for training can be limited and training useful to advisory group members may be available through local libraries, voluntary organisations, universities and higher education colleges.
Be prepared to be flexible. As the confidence of the group grows with time, they may be willing to move from a purely advisory role to getting more involved in carrying out some of the research, such as conducting interviews or data analysis. Individuals may then need more specialised training depending on their existing skills and experience and the demands of the role.