What is Patient and Public Involvement?

Everyone benefits from research. Research provides evidence about what works best. Patients, carers, people who use social care services and health & social care professionals all use this evidence to make decisions about treatments and care.

When the public gets involved in research, they work alongside researchers to help shape:

  • what research gets done
  • how it’s carried out
  • how the results are shared and applied in practice.

Being involved is not the same as taking part in research. Involvement is not about taking part in a trial or study to test a new treatment or care option. It’s about being a member of the research team that works together to design and run the study. It ensures that research and outcomes are relevant and important to patients, carers and the public; research materials are easy to understand; and the research process is sensitive and acceptable to potential participants.

We define public involvement in research as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.

When we use the term ‘public’, we are including:

  • patients and potential patients
  • carers and people who use health and social care services
  • people from organisations that represent people who use services.

Your knowledge from having experienced your own care, or the care of others is of great value to researchers. Researchers may have textbook knowledge about different conditions but unless they have also lived through it, there will be gaps in their understanding.

You won’t be expected to have technical knowledge of how research works. The knowledge you have as a patient, carer or member of the public is what’s unique about your contribution.

a crowd of people

By getting involved in research, you can help make research more relevant and useful to patients, carers and the public. By working with researchers, you will improve research and make a difference to the way health and social care is provided in the future.

You can view a video to understand why it is important for patients and public to be involved in research on the NIHR You Tube channel.

Register for updates on our involvement opportunities.

We want to make it easier for interested people to find out about opportunities we have for people to get involved in our research.

Join our Patient and Public Involvement Contributor group and we will keep you up to date with any involvement opportunities we have available, along with information about PPI training and related information.

Visit this web page for more details or email PPI.OHBRC@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk for more information.

Published: 30 March 2024
Last reviewed: 8 April, 2024