This paper aims to discuss the experiences of a group of eight user and carer researchers from learning disability and mental health services who worked together in a research project. The research was to find out about the changes that took place as over 300 people moved from hostel accommodation into independent tenancies. These moves were part of a three year project involving a partnership between a local authority and a housing association.
The evaluation was based on a model of user participation.
User involvement in research can mean different things with different levels of involvement, from consultation through to user‐controlled research. In this paper the authors discuss some of the challenges in doing this kind of evaluation study, as well as the opportunities that came from involving users and carers in the research. This includes how the researchers got involved and some of the activities they did.
The authors also describe some of the difficulties that were faced, including payments and criminal record checks. The ways in which people were trained and supported to take part and stay involved are outlined as well as how the group feel that they have learnt new skills and increased their confidence.
This paper adds the voices of the co‐researchers to the literature and provides “lessons learned” for other researchers in this area.
Grayson, T., Hung Tsang, Y., Jolly, D., Karban, K., Lomax, P., Midgley, C., O' Rouke, I., Paley, C., Sinson, J., Willcock, K. and Williams, P. (2013), "Include me in: user involvement in research and evaluation", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 35-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/20428301311305296
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