Evidence Library

Title: Research involving mental health consumers and carers: a reference group approach.
Author: Lammers, J. & Happell, B
Date Published: 2004
Reference: International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 13(4), 262-266.
Are service users or carers authors: Yes


This paper describes how a reference group of service users and carers was set up to help with a research project that examined people's experiences of using psychiatric support services.

The group spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the initial research proposal. They changed a lot of the wording to make it more user/carer friendly. This improved the researchers' understanding of how users see themselves and how this contrasts with the way they are described in policy documents and by service providers.     

The researchers conclude that the reference group's changes to the proposal, in particular the use of more user/ carer friendly language, helped to develop greater rapport and trust with the research participants. This ultimately influenced the participants' willingness to share their opinions and experiences in a more open and honest way.

The users and carers involved in the reference group reported that taking part in the project helped them to improve their own understanding and knowledge of current issues, so that they became better informants for other service users and carers.

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Related entry: none currently available

Categories: health
Designing research
impact on research
impact on service users involved
impact of public involvement
journal article

Date Entered: 2010/09/28

Date Edited: 2012/11/20

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