How to involve consumers in your research

There are various methods for involving consumers and community members in your research. The method you use 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

Below is a list of methods developed and used by the Involvement Program. The methods can be adapted to suit any research project or program of work.



It is important for consumers or community members to understand the information contained in documents associated with your project.

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grant application reviewers

Consumers and community members are increasingly involved in providing a consumer or community perspective on grant applications and are increasingly involved in funding processes at organisations such as Cancer Australia.



These are one-off or occasional meetings between consumers, community members and researchers to discuss your research and its results.

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Consumer or community members who are part of research teams are commonly referred to as consumer or community representatives.

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Research buddies are consumers or community members who provide links between the researcher, other consumers and community members, organisations or the research funder.

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Reference groups are groups of consumers or community members that can be referred to throughout the course of a research project.

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Group of stakeholders who steer and influence the research project. This is high-level involvement. A steering group may be referred to as a steering panel.

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These are consumers or community members who have been trained to work with researchers to conduct all or part of the research.

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Consumer and community advisory councils (councils) provide advice at a strategic level across an organisation. They support partnerships between researchers, consumers and community members. They aim to enhance research through consumer and community involvement.

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