Supporting public involvement
in NHS, public health and
social care research

NSH National Institute for Health Research

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Are you interested in getting involved in health and social care research?

Welcome to the Getting involved section of our website. INVOLVE believes it is important for members of the public to be involved in research. Research which reflects the need and views of the public can lead to more relevant research and is more likely to produce results that can be used to improve practice in health and social care.

We hope that the information below will help answer some of your questions but please explore our website, sign up to our mailing list to receive a copy of our newsletter and email alerts which will let you know our news and any opportunities for involvement in research.


What is health and social care research?

There are many different kinds of health and social care research taking place in the UK and worldwide.  Broadly, health and social care research aims to find out more about:

Health issues e.g. effects of new treatments, causes of ill health or the effects of the environment on health

Social care needs e.g. everyday support needs for disabled people, vulnerable children, and older people.

   What is 'active involvement ' in research?

Active involvement in research is different from simply taking part in a study.  It means:

  • research done with members of the public, not to or about them
  • getting involved in the research process itself
  • making sure that publicly funded health and social care research is relevant and useful to the public.

    How could my getting involved benefit the research?

You can help:

  • make sure that researchers ask the right questions in a way that benefits people who use services
  • keep the research on track so that it stays relevant
  • make sure the people being researched are approached in the right way
  • improve the quality of the research by adding another point of view to the design and conduct

    How would I benefit from being involved?

  • having a say in research that might affect me, my family or friends
  • getting research done that is important to me
  • learning about research and the subject being researched
  • meeting new people and developing my abilities
  • a chance to make a contribution

    What might I be asked to do?

  • help select research that is important and relevant
  • help researchers design their projects
  • help develop understandable information sheets for people taking part in research
  • join a research management or advisory group
  • train to carry out some of the research ( e.g. interviews)
  • help interpret the results of the research
  • help make sure the research is reported in understandable ways
  • help make sure good research is heard about

    Will I get paid?

Expenses: you should always receive reimbursement for any reasonable expenses, like travel.

Payment for time: Sometimes you may be offered a fee or it could be voluntary.  It all depends on the research project and what you are doing.

   How to find out more?

Call 02380 651088 or email us at to request a free copy of the four

booklets in our Public Information Pack (PIP):

Booklet 1 - So what is it all about?  

This booklet gives some background information about research and public involvement,

and why it is important to get involved in research

Booklet 2 - Getting Started 

This booklet describes some of the different ways you can get involved in research and questions to ask before deciding whether to get involved.

Booklet 3 - Finding our more

Information about some of the different organisations that are involved in research which may be useful to know about.

Booklet 4 - Jargon Buster

A glossary of some of the words used in the other booklets.


You may also find this leaflet useful.

Payment for involvement in research:helpful benefit rules and systems for avoiding

benefit problems

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to telephone or email us – 02380 651088 or

Sign up to receive the INVOLVE newsletter to find out about public involvement in research

Visit People in Research a website which helps members of the public make contact  with research organisations that are looking for people to get involved.

If you are interested in getting involved in commissioning health and social care research you may find these booklets useful.

Getting involved in research grant applications: guidelines for members of the public P1 (updated June 2009)

Peer reviewing research proposals: guidelines for members of the public P2


Being a member of a commissioning board:Guidelines for members of the public. P3


To download a report click on a 'Download' button and save the PDF file to your hard-drive. To view or print the document open it in 'acrobat reader'. If you don't have 'acrobat reader' you can download it from:

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