Partnership research: a review of approaches and challenges in conducting research in partnership with service users

Frankham, J. (2009) Partnership research: a review of approaches and challenges in conducting research in partnership with service users. Discussion Paper. NCRM. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper is aimed at policy makers, research funders, research supervisors and others interested in, but not conversant with, issues in service user involvement in research. The paper also outlines challenges in the execution of this work and raises some philosophical questions about its enactments. The first section of the paper outlines the historical context and the perceived benefits of service user involvement in research, drawing largely on authors who work within that field and wish to promote greater service user involvement. The primary advantages of service user involvement are seen as: learning from the first hand direct experience of service users; using the distinctive ‘way of knowing’ of service users to inform the design and execution of research; that engagement in research can be empowering to the service users involved; and that the outcomes of the work will be different and, as it is perceived by advocates in the field, more relevant to both service users and providers. The second section of the paper summarises some key issues in the practical conduct of research with service users, emphasising the complexities involved at a number of levels. Four key issues are highlighted: recruitment of service users; communication; research training; and ethical issues. Section three aims to ‘trouble’ the field of service user involvement in research by engaging in debate about three key issues in the field: The privileging of personal experience in knowing and understanding; issues around what and how we learn in research partnerships; and the notion that service users will or can be empowered through participating in research. The paper ends with three, more general, points. First the author highlights a dilemma in engaging with issues in service user involvement in research associated with the political nature of the endeavour. Anyone entering the field will, it is argued, also have to work through the ideological issues involved. Second, the ‘closed’ nature of the field is referred to, and it is suggested that this is connected to the political nature of the endeavour. Third, the author suggests there will be many calls in the future for further research/evaluation about service user engagement in research but that meaningful work in this area will be both costly and complex because of the necessity for ethnographic work.

Item Type:Working Paper (Discussion Paper)
Subjects:1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.14 Participatory Research
1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.24 Frameworks for Research and Research Designs (other)
ID Code:778
Deposited By: NCRM users
Deposited On:12 May 2009 15:21
Last Modified:12 Oct 2010 17:41

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