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Open Access Drawing straight lines along blurred boundaries: qualitative research, patient and public involvement in medical research, co-production and co-design

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Biomedical research policy in many countries has adopted the principle of active involvement in research. However, how different approaches to involvement such as patient and public involvement/engagement (PPIE), qualitative research, participatory research, co-design and co-production sit alongside each other, is contentious and unclear. There has also been a subtle shift in the discourse, with the language of co-design and co-production used more widely in debates about involvement. This shift has surfaced once again debates about what counts as meaningful involvement. In this paper we seek to contribute to this debate by exploring boundaries and overlaps between them. We suggest that they share some underpinning philosophies and all are prone to be challenged on the grounds of tokenism despite avowed good intentions. We argue that these different approaches are not necessarily as distinct as is often advocated and question whether there is merit in this family of marginalised approaches working more collaboratively to give patient voices greater traction. At the same time, we recognise that this creates challenges and tensions.
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Keywords: co-design; co-production; patient and public involvement; qualitative research

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Aberdeen, UK 2: Kingston University London and St. George’s University of London, UK

Publication date: August 2019

This article was made available online on August 2, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Drawing straight lines along blurred boundaries: Qualitative research, patient and public involvement in medical research, co-production and co-design".

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