We support researchers to involve consumers and community members in health research.

Researchers

Involving consumers and community members in research ensures peoples’ lived experiences and perspectives shape decisions about research priorities, policy and practice.

Our aim is for consumer and community involvement to be standard practice in all health research in Western Australia. Our services, resources and training programs have been developed to support consumers and community members being involved in all levels and stages of research.

What is consumer and community involvement?

Consumers and community members working in partnerships with researchers, clinicians, government agencies, policy makers and funding bodies to shape decisions about research.

Active partnerships between consumers, community members and researchers that are sensitive to changing needs and priorities of the community.

Consumers and community members are an integral part of the research process, rather than just observing or commenting on the research once it is finished.

It is a commitment to conducting research that is with the community rather than to or for the community.

This approach results in greater transparency, openness and accountability and research that is more relevant to the community.

Woman holding hands with her teenage daughter who is in a wheelchairWhy it’s important

Researchers, consumers and community members can work together to raise awareness and support in the wider community of research and its results.

  • Research being conducted that better meets the needs of the community
  • Engages researchers who are committed to the ‘value adding’ of consumer and community involvement
  • Consumers and community members have increased value for research and may advocate for change and/or further funding
  • Improves translation with research becoming more than a report on a shelf or a conference presentation

Support we provide

The Consumer and Community Health Research Network provides services to all Partner Organisations of the WA Health Translation Network. Our Consumer Advocates provide support and advice about consumer and community involvement including:

  • How to involve consumers and community members in grant applications
  • Help to identify relevant consumers and community members for your project via our Matching Service
  • Advice on developing consumer and community involvement strategies
  • Access to training workshops
  • Advice on budgeting for consumer and community involvement activities in your research projects
  • Facilitating consumer and community involvement activities

Please contact the Consumer and Community Health Research Network to access the services of a Consumer Advocate.

We also provide information to researchers and stakeholders from external organisations and suggest you contact us for further information about our services.

Matching Service

The Consumer and Community Health Research Network offer a Matching Service for researchers from the WA Health Translation Network partner organisations.  This service is offered to assist researchers to identify relevant consumers and community members to involve in your research project.

Our Consumer Advocates will work with you to determine the most appropriate method of community involvement for your project. As a part of this service, we co-ordinate the promotion and advertising of your project’s community involvement opportunity via our website, e-newsletter and social media channels.

Our team speak with consumer/community members applying to be involved in your project to find out about their interest in your research and suitability. We also speak with a referee of each of the applicants to find out more about them. This information is provided back to you to assist in deciding the most appropriate consumer/community members for your project.

Our Consumer Advocates can liaise with you and your chosen consumer/community members to help guide and support the new relationships.

We also offer a range of training workshops for consumers and community members to support them to develop understanding, skills and confidence about becoming actively involved in research.

Butchers paper on a table with a handwritten texta list of ideas

Training for Researchers

We offer a range of training workshops for researchers, consumers and community members to promote partnerships that will actively involve consumers and community members in research.

The following workshops have been developed in direct response to queries from researchers, funding bodies, government and non-government organisations:

  • Implementing consumer and community involvement

    These one-day workshops support researchers to develop understanding, skills and confidence about the how and why of implementing consumer and community involvement in research.

  • Writing in plain language

    A two-hour workshop to help you to produce a plain language summary of your research project or research findings. Plain language summaries can be used in your ethics applications, on websites and to let the community know about your research.

  • Laboratory based researchers

    This one day training workshop focuses specifically on the needs of laboratory-based researchers wanting to involve consumers and community members in their research.

We also offer workshops for consumers and community members who are actively involved in research. The workshop covers basic research information such as: terminology; the research funding process; different types of research; and contributing effectively to the research team.

Customised training workshops can be developed on request to meet the specific needs of your organisation or research group. Contact us to find out more or discuss your training needs.

How to involve consumers in your research

There are various methods for involving consumers and community members in your research. Each research project is unique and the involvement activities will need to be developed to suit the research. The method used will influence the number of consumers or community members you involve.

We recommend involving at least two consumers or community members in your research. The benefits of this include:

  • Consumers and community members can seek support from each other
  • Gaining a wider perspective
  • Ensuring there is consumer and community input if a person is unable to attend a meeting

Methods of Involvement: Click here for a short explanation of each method and example to see how these methods can be adapted to suit the needs of your research project.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is consumer and community involvement about participating in research?
  • How can I be sure the consumer or community member is representative?
  • How do I make sure I am getting the right consumers and community member rather than the ‘professional’ consumer?
  • Is there a role for consumer and community involvement in all types of research?
  • Do consumers or community members need to be involved when the research project is about health workforce issues or conditions?

Find out more