This paper reflects on the role of a research supporter. As a nondisabled researcher, one of the authors worked as a supporter to a team of three researchers with learning difficulties, on a project about direct payments. She comments that this role is not always easy and a supporter needs to learn how to step back and find ways for researchers with learning difficulties to do things for themselves. She reviews how the project progressed, how her role developed over time and what she learnt from the experience. A key issue was that of empowerment and the realisation that power cannot be handed from one person to another. She concludes that this type of research is new and different: it does not draw on any existing model as it crucially depends on the identity of researchers as people with learning difficulties. She recommends that all parties in any project of this kind remain vigilant about issues of power and control. The research supporters' role is extremely sensitive in this respect.
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Categories: social care reflecting on public involvement in research journal article
Date Entered: 2007/02/26
Date Edited: 2012/11/20