Evaluating services in partnership with older people: exploring the role of community researchers
Evans, S., Corley, M., Corrie, M., Costley, K. and Donald, C. (2011) Evaluating services in partnership with older people: exploring the role of community researchers. Working with Older People, 15 (1). pp. 26-33. ISSN 1366-3666
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This article is a collaboration between an academic researcher and four older people who worked together on the evaluation of a pilot project in Gloucestershire, with the aim of ‘making care homes part of our community’. Against a background of increasing public participation in research, we explore the role of ‘community researcher’ and the experiences of those involved. The article starts with an overview of policy and practice developments in relation to public engagement in research. A description is provided of a research project that included recruiting and training ‘community researchers’ to carry out an evaluation of the Partnerships for Older People Project in Gloucestershire. The next section focuses on the experiences of the older people who carried out this role, including some of the benefits and challenges that were encountered. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for delivering meaningful public engagement in service development and evaluation.