Evidence Library


Title: Uncovering the benefits of participatory research: implications of a realist review for health research and practice
Author: Jagosh, J., Macaulay, A., Pluye, P., Salsberg, J., Bush, P., Henderson, J., Sirett, E., Wong, G., Cargo, M., Herbert, C., Seifer, S., Green, L. and Greenhalgh, T.
Date Published: 2012
Reference: Milbank Quarterly, 90(2), 311-46
Are service users or carers authors: No/Not Known

Abstract: Aim: To identify the ways in which collaborative partnerships between researchers and community members may add value to the research process, taking into account the many different approaches and the complex nature of such partnerships. Methods: A review of the literature using a realist theory, which looks at how different contexts and methods lead to different outcomes. Findings/recommendations: The reviewers looked at 23 partnerships between researchers and communities working on health-related research. The contexts were too varied to draw any conclusions about how context relates to outcomes. However, the review did find links between processes and outcome. When partnerships were working well, i.e. when the community members had equal status and meaningful influence on the research, then this led to better outcomes. The effects were synergistic, in that a positive outcome at one stage created a better context for the next. For example, when researchers showed willing in listening to the community views in setting the research question, this enhanced the partnership, which led to more effective collaboration and greater influence on the outcomes at later stages. The main positive outcomes were: • culturally relevant research • making participation in the research easier for the research subjects • boosting recruitment • increasing research capacity in the community • productive conflict between partners followed by useful negotiation leading to more productive research • sustained activity beyond the life of the project and during gaps in funding • creating system changes and unanticipated projects and activities. There were some negative outcomes to collaborative working that could sometimes be explained by aspects of the context, and sometimes a lack of genuine partnership.

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Categories: health
public health
social care
Identifying topics, prioritising and commissioning
Designing research
Undertaking research
impact on funding/commissioning
impact on research
impact on research ethics
impact on service users involved
impact on researchers
impact on implementation and change
impact of public involvement
reflecting on public involvement in research
journal article
Implementation and change

Date Entered: 2014/11/05

Date Edited: 2014/11/10

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