2004 Conference

This paper describes a piece of research in which diabetes service users collaborated at every stage.

A reference group of health professionals and service user representatives was set up to define our research question. We wanted to find out what the important areas of diabetic people’s lives were. We aimed to define and prioritise some research questions from these important areas and compare these with the Department of Health’s research priorities.

On the reference group’s advice professionals who understood the language, dialects and culture of the minority ethnic groups that made up the local diabetic community joined the research team. Six focus groups were run to discuss the issues that people with diabetes considered important areas to research. Representatives of the focus group participants were involved in the analysis and dissemination of the findings.

This method of determining research priorities in diabetes finds very different results to more traditional expert based methods. The potential advantages and disadvantages are explored. The difficulties encountered in carrying out this study and the issue of representation of service user views are also discussed.

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