Conceptualising and constructing ‘diversity’ through experiences of public and patient involvement in health research

REYNOLDS, Joanna, OGDEN, Margaret and BERESFORD, Ruth (2021). Conceptualising and constructing ‘diversity’ through experiences of public and patient involvement in health research. Research Involvement and Engagement, 7.

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Background: Increasing the accessibility of public and patient involvement (PPI) in health research for people from diverse backgrounds is important for ensuring all voices are heard and represented. Critiques of PPI being dominated by ‘the usual suspects’ reflect concerns over the barriers to involvement in PPI faced by people from minority groups or non-professional backgrounds. Yet, what has received less attention is how undertaking PPI work might produce diverse experiences, potentially shaping the motivation and capacity of people from different backgrounds to continue in PPI. Methods: We conducted qualitative research to explore experiences of the health research PPI field in the UK and to understand how these might shape the accessibility of PPI for people of diverse backgrounds. We conducted in-depth and follow-up interviews with five PPI contributors with experience of multiple health research projects, and a focus group with nine people in professional roles relating to PPI. Interview data were analysed using a narrative approach, and then combined with the focus group data for thematic analysis. Results: The structure, organisation and relationships of health research in the UK all shape PPI experiences in ways that can intersect the different backgrounds and identities of contributors, and can pose barriers to involvement and motivation for some. Navigating processes for claiming expenses can be frustrating particularly for people from lower-income backgrounds or with additional needs, and short-term research can undermine relationships of trust between contributors and professionals. Pressure on PPI coordinators to find ‘more diverse’ contributors can also undermine ongoing relationships with contributors, and how their inputs are valued. Conclusions: Authors’ accepted manuscript. Accepted for publication in Research Involvement & Engagement, May 2021 3 To increase diversity within PPI, and to ensure that people of different backgrounds are supported and motivated to continue in PPI, changes are needed in the wider health research infrastructure in the UK. More resources are required to support relationships of trust over time between contributors and professionals, and to ensure the unique circumstances of each contributor are accommodated within and across PPI roles. Finally, critical reflection on the pressure in PPI to seek ‘more diverse’ contributors is needed, to understand the impacts of this on those already involved.

Item Type: Article
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 19 May 2021 13:58
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2021 14:00

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