Frequently Asked Questions about the course.
Below are common questions about the course and community involvement training and workshops for research.
Is consumer and community involvement the same as participating in research?
Consumer and community involvement is about researchers and consumers working in partnership to make decisions about research priorities, policy and practice.
It is not about participating in research however, some participants of research projects or clinical trials may also take part in involvement activities.
How can I be sure the consumer or community member is representative?
Consumer and/or community members bring the consumer or community perspective to a research team based on their own experiences or affiliations to organisations.
Just as a single health professional or researcher can’t necessarily represent every one of their colleagues neither will a consumer and/or community member.
How do I make sure I am getting the right consumers and/or 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 and/or community organisation can sometimes give rise to concerns the person may be ‘too professional.’
Consumer and/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 and/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.
Its important to decide the most appropriate method and person for the involvement activities that will suit the research that is being undertaken.
Do consumers and/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 and/or community members such as nursing workforce, rural GPs or allied health services, consumers and/or community members may have valuable insights into how this has a direct impact on services they receive.
Will involvement be too expensive and time consuming?
Involving consumers and/or community members will cost more money and take more time.
However, not involving them can compromise the relevance and translating the results into policy and practice may be difficult if community needs and priorities are different to those of the researchers.
Where will I find the right consumers and/or community members for my project?
The essence of good consumer and/or community involvement is about establishing and building good relationships.
It is vital to make sure there is clarity around the role of the consumer and/or community members before trying to find the person who will be most appropriate and effective in your research team.
Once this is done consider your own or organisational networks or contact consumer and/or community organisations associated with the area of your research that may be able to help with finding people.