Openness, inclusion and transparency in the practice of public involvement in research: A reflective exercise to develop best practice recommendations

Laura JE Brown, Tommy Dickinson, Stuart Smith, Christine Brown Wilson, Maria Horne, Kate Torkington, Paul Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
210 Downloads (Pure)


Context: Reflective accounts of public involvement in research (PI) are important for helping researchers plan and deliver more effective PI activities. In particular, there is a need to address power differentials between team members that can prohibit effective and meaningful involvement.

Objective: To critically reflect on the PI practices that underpinned our research project on intimacy and sexuality in care homes, to develop a series of recommendations
for improving future PI activities.

Setting: The research team comprised five academics from nursing, public health,sociology and psychology, and two members of the public with experience of sex education, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues in older populations. In order to address power differentials within the group, we developed an approach to PI practice that was grounded in values of openness, inclusion and transparency.

Method: Reflective commentaries on the strengths and weaknesses of the team’s
approach to PI were gathered through interviews and open-ended
questionnaires with research team members. These views were collated and discussed at a workshop comprising research team members and an additional member of the public to generate recommendations for future PI practice.

Results: A number of strengths and limitations of our approach to PI were identified. Clear recommendations for improving PI practice were developed for three broad areas of identified difficulty: (i) communication within and between meetings; (ii) the roles and responsibilities of team members; and (iii) PI resources and productivity.

Discussion and conclusion: These recommendations add to the developing body of guidance for conducting effective PI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Expectations: An International Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health Policy
Early online date03 Nov 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 03 Nov 2017


  • Care homes
  • sexuality
  • intimacy
  • communication
  • Resources

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