Patient and public involvement

No matter how complicated the research, or how brilliant the researcher, patients and the public always offer unique, invaluable insights. Their advice when designing, implementing and evaluating research invariably makes studies more effective, more credible and often more cost efficient as well.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer

(Foreword in Staley, K. (2009) Exploring Impact: Public Involvement in NHS, Public Health and Social Care Research. INVOLVE, Eastleigh.)

Benefits of patient and public involvement

Members of the public, including patients, and patients’ carers and family members, may have personal knowledge and experience of research topics and/or be able to provide a more general perspective. The knowledge and experience of researchers will be different to that of someone who is using the service or living with a health condition. Increasingly, research funding bodies are requesting evidence of patient and public involvement in research proposals. Patient and public involvement can help improve the quality of research by a variety of means, including:

  • Helping make study materials (e.g. questionnaires, participant information sheets) more relevant and understandable
  • Helping to ensure that the methods proposed for the study are acceptable and sympathetic to the situations of potential research participants
  • Helping to ensure that the outcomes of the research are important to the public, and that the research addresses real issues of concern for patients and the public
  • Helping to increase participation in research by suggesting how best to approach participants and engage hard-to-reach groups; and by ensuring provision of adequate, clear information which will allow participants to make informed choices.

Patient and Public Involvement Advisory group

We are in the process of setting up a patient and public involvement (PPI) advisory group, which we believe will make an important contribution to the development of our future research.

We are keen to involve members of the public from all walks of life, who have an interest in health or health behaviour. This can include people who have personal (i.e. yourself or others close to you) knowledge or experience of health conditions (e.g. diabetes, stroke, heart disease); people who are familiar with the difficulties of changing their behaviour regarding a particular health issue (such as giving up smoking, taking exercise, maintaining a healthy diet or weight-management) or people who just have a general interest in health and health issues.

Members of the public who join the group should be interested in helping improve the health of people in the UK. Whilst building on your personal experiences, you would be expected to take a wider view of issues which may affect people who take part in, or are potentially affected by, our research.

The group will meet around twice a year, for around half a day each time, at the University of Stirling. Travel expenses would be reimbursed for members of the public who take part. In between meetings you would be asked to review and comment on information relating to our proposed research. Importantly, you do not need to have any experience of conducting or taking part in research, as we are seeking people to look at our proposals from an impartial and detached viewpoint.

If you have some time to spare and think you would be interested in taking part, or would simply like more information, please contact Jody Quigley, email: j.m.quigley@stir.ac.uk, telephone: 01786 466842.

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