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Open Access Changing what researchers 'think and do': Is this how involvement impacts on research?

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Much has been written about the impact of involvement on research and the people involved, but much less is known about the impact on researchers. Based on previous experience of evaluating involvement, I was aware that researchers often report learning something new from involvement. Patients/the public bring 'new' knowledge to researchers, informed by their lived experience and use of services. I therefore carried out a narrative review of the literature to explore in depth what researchers learn from involvement. The findings confirmed that researchers often gain new knowledge and skills through involvement, which can change their priorities, values and attitudes. Therefore, researchers often directly experience the impact of involvement themselves. This learning then changes their practice. It leads them to change the design, delivery and dissemination of their research. Thus, many of the reported outcomes of involvement might be underpinned by what the researchers learnt through the process. Reframing impacts on research as impacts on researchers' learning has implications for practice and for motivating researchers to work with patients and the public. Further research and future evaluations of involvement might usefully explore the links between researchers' learning and outcomes.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Research for All is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. Contributors and readers are from both inside and outside of higher education. They include researchers, policymakers, managers, practitioners, community-based organizations, schools, businesses and the intermediaries who bring these people together. The journal highlights the potential in active public engagement for robust academic study, for the development of involved communities, and for the impact of research. It explores engagement with different groups and their cultures, and features theoretical and empirical analysis alongside authoritative commentary to explore a range of themes that are key to engaged research including the development of reciprocal relationships, sector-specific communication and participatory action research. The journal is co-sponsored by the UCL Institute of Education and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

    Research for All is supporting the 16th International conference for Public Communication of Science and Technology being held in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, 26–28 May 2020. Authors of contributions presented at the conference are invited subsequently to submit papers to Research for All for a special feature on Public Communication of Science and Technology.

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