Consumer and Community involvement in health research
What does it look like?
You could be involved at any stage of the research cycle shown below. The level of involvement will vary depending on the type of research being undertaken and possibly the role that you choose.
Stage 1 – Deciding what to research
You could play a key role in identifying and prioritising topics for research, e.g. by participating in, and sharing ideas at relevant consumer and community consultations or becoming a member of a health consumer group.
Stage 2 – Deciding how to do it
You could help make sure research plans are practical and achievable, e.g. by helping to write or comment on funding applications; providing input into participant information sheets and other participant-facing documents so that they are easier to understand, and/or assisting in the design of research tools. Members of Project Steering Committees and Reference Groups contribute significantly to these activities.
Stage 3 – Doing the research
There are many ways you can be involved in undertaking the research, e.g. co-facilitating focus groups with other community members, assisting with the recruitment of study participants (including promotion), or the collection of data and its' analysis. This is where Health Consumer Partners play an integral role.
Stage 4 – Sharing the results
You can help researchers disseminate the results of their research by writing or helping to write plain language summaries of the research and its results, sharing this information widely to your networks, or giving talks to consumers or community groups about the results. You could also advocate for research findings to be translated into policy and practice.
Stage 5 – Planning future research
If you have been involved in the earlier stages of a project, researchers will be keen to hear your thoughts on future topics for research. You could also help to secure funding for future research.