Could using ‘VOICE‘ – National public involvement in research platform help with public involvement in your research?
Many researchers will already be aware of patient and public involvement (PPI) and the many benefits and the positive impact it can have in their research. Please read two examples of how Cathy and Louise, both postgraduate researchers, have implemented public involvement in their research and read on for more information on VOICE and how it help with your research.
Cathy Beresford, Full time PhD student – Experiences of care in advanced liver disease
“For my research with people who have liver disease, I found VOICE extremely helpful for my public involvement strategy. Before I accessed VOICE, I struggled to reach people for public involvement. Although I am a nurse, I do not specialise in liver disease, and I did not have established links with the people I was seeking to do the research with. With fantastic support from BU PIER Officer Kate Jupp, I advertised my public involvement opportunity and had eight people come forward to take part in an online workshop. I reached a mix of people from different parts of the UK, four are people with liver disease and four are carers of individuals with liver disease. I found this to be the perfect number for a really constructive meeting where we discussed the findings of my recent systematic literature review and made plans for the upcoming research as part of my PhD project. All of the attendees of the meeting said they wanted to be further involved in public involvement as part of the research. Members of the group have since contributed to the participant information leaflets for the study and we are planning a further meeting in the autumn. For each meeting, individual members are given a £25 voucher for their time, which is part of my PhD funding.”
Louise Ward, Part time PhD student (and PPI adviser within BUCRU) – Online PPI: Perceptions and experiences of public contributors and researchers in health and social care research.
“Given that PPI is my chosen topic, it was essential that I have voices of those with relevant lived experience in my own doctoral research to help shape its planning and design. After some initial struggles acquiring funding to undertake PPI in my PhD, I ran some informal introductory PPI sessions to gauge how people have found online PPI and whether it’s been working for them. I spoke with 11 people, 9 of which were found via the VOICE platform, they were a broad range of voices from around the UK.
I posted an ‘opportunity’ on VOICE and was overwhelmed by the response, 38 people applied. I had included additional questions to aid selection, e.g. length of time people have been involved in research, but you can choose whatever you wish to ask for extra information, e.g. experience of a certain health condition or use of a particular service. You are also able to state certain criteria, e.g. age, gender etc. Even with the additional information, it was tough to narrow down to a smaller number (within the budget I’d allowed myself), but after reading through each application I reduced numbers to 10 people and approved/declined/added to wait list accordingly. I ran two PPI sessions via VOICE, the first one with three people (I had some non-attendees so it’s good to plan for that) and the second with six people. Kate from BU PIER also joined the sessions as it’s always good to have a second person to co-facilitate. Both were really useful sessions and all were keen to stay involved in helping with my future research. I have since contacted a smaller number of them and plan to run a regular public advisory group throughout my PhD at various stages to ensure my research stays relevant to those whom it impacts the most.”
To summarise, researchers can:
- Easily and quickly register for VOICE
- Submit an opportunity request to involve members of the public in their research
- Use the digital tools the platform offers to involve members of the public in research
- Promote workshops/groups
- Facilitate online discussions
- Promote opportunities for the public to join steering groups
- Online surveys & polls
- Set up a closed group to communicate, share documents and support an established public involvement group
- Access and share support and learning resources to help patient and public involvement and engagement activities
You can register with VOICE and explore what is available. Please email Kate Jupp or Louise Ward or on: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help get the public involved in your research and/or promote an event or opportunity to VOICE members.
VOICE are running an introductory session for new members on 11 September 2023 to explain what VOICE is, it will mostly be aimed at members of the public but will give a good insight into what VOICE can offer for researchers too.