Below are our most frequently asked questions along with their answers, if you have any other questions please feel free to contact us directly.
Is consumer and community involvement about participating in research?
Consumer and community involvement is about working with researchers and other stakeholders to make decisions about research priorities, policy and practice. It is not a about participating in a research project.
How can I be sure the consumer or community member is representative?
Consumer and community members bring the consumer or community perspective to a research team based on their own experiences or affiliations to particular organisations. A single health professional or researcher can’t necessarily represent every one of their colleagues neither will a consumer or community member.
How do I make sure I am getting the right consumers and community member rather than the ‘professional’ consumer?
Each research project is unique and who to involve is a question that needs to be asked for every project. Having a person from a consumer or community organisation can sometimes give rise to concerns the person may be too professional. Consumer or community organisations often provide training on being an ‘effective voice’ for their group or organisation. They also have the benefit of providing a wider perspective than their own lived experiences and can consult with others if necessary. Having a consumer or community member on your team who is professional and effective will provide the same level of expertise in their area as other members of your research team.
Is there a role for consumer and community involvement in all types of research?
Yes although the method and level of involvement will be dependent on what the research project is about.
Do consumers or community members need to be involved when the research project is about health workforce issues or conditions?
Even if a project is about an issue that does not directly involve consumers or community members such as nursing workforce, rural GPs or allied health services, consumers or community members may have valuable insights into how this has a direct impact on services they receive.