Evidence Library

Title: Wise owls and professors: the role of older researchers in the review of the National Service Framework for Older People.
Author: Cornes, M., Peardon, J., Manthorpe, J. & The 3YO Project Team.
Date Published: 2008
Reference: Health Expectations, 11(4), 409-417
Are service users or carers authors: Yes


Aim: To explore the involvement of older people in the joint review of the NSF for Older People in England.                                                                                            

Methods: A day-long seminar was held with the user researchers and other members ofthe research team to capture their reflections on the user involvement in this large-scale study.           

Findings: The older researchers reported on the personal benefits of working on this project and how valuable they had found it learning from other members of the team.                                                                                                                             

One of the main learning points from the project, however, was the importance of viewing service user researchers as an integral part of a wider team. Often service users are perceived as simply lacking experience and requiring training. This training is seen as crucial to maintaining quality standards in research. However, all individuals, whether they are researchers or service users, will have very different skills and experiences. It is important to allow everyone in a research team to be matched to tasks accordingly. It is also important to think about supporting the research team as a whole aiming to maximise the benefits from the diversity of skills and experiences available. This is distinct from trying to convert service users into academic researchers.                                 

The authors conclude there is a need to move beyond the rhetoric of participation and any blanket assumptions about what it means to be a 'service user researcher' or a 'professional researcher'. This means ensuring that within any research team there are equal opportunities for individual appraisal, support and personal or professional development, at the same time as ensuring there are clear lines of accountability.

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Related entry: none currently available

Categories: health
public health
social care
impact on service users involved
impact of public involvement
reflecting on public involvement in research
journal article

Date Entered: 2010/09/28

Date Edited: 2012/11/21

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