Patients and public can be involved in the research process in several different ways:
- consultation - for instance by asking people to comment on a research proposal
- collaboration - for instance by inviting people to sit on a steering group
- patient-led research - for instance where patients are co-applicants.
The Research Design Service London suggests that the different stages of the research process where PPI can be incorporated are:
- identifying research priorities
- design of a research project
- development of the grant proposal
- undertaking research, for instance by conducting interviews
- analysing and interpreting data
- dissemination of findings
- implementation of findings
- monitoring and evaluation of the research.
Researchers who make the involvement of users and the public an inherent part of their research also gain a huge source of practical help and solutions.
Patients and the public can:
- look at research from a practical point of view and make positive recommendations, suggesting for instance more meaningful and reliable outcome measures, effective timing, improved recruitment procedures
- help improve the language and accessibility of patient information and invitation letters
- carry out recruitment or interviewing
- provide access to different communities
- act as advocates and disseminators of research findings.