Developing the theoretical basis for service user/survivor-led research and equal involvement in research

Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc. Jan-Mar 2005;14(1):4-9. doi: 10.1017/s1121189x0000186x.


Aims and methods: This article, written from a service user/survivor perspective, explores a hypothesis which seeks to offer a more systematic basis for the full and equal involvement of mental health service users/survivors in both the research process and research structures more generally. The hypothesis challenges traditional emphasis on positivist assumptions about the priority of values of 'distance', 'neutrality' and 'objectivity' (which it argues discriminate against service users and their experiential knowledge). It explores instead the idea that 'the shorter the distance between direct experience and its interpretation, then the less likely resulting knowledge is to be inaccurate, unreliable and distorted.'

Results and conclusions: The proposal discusses ways in which such (objective and subjective) distance may be reduced, to improve the quality of research, to enable more equal involvement of service users and their direct experience and to make it possible for non-service user researchers to work alongside service users on more equal terms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Community Participation*
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Survivors
  • United Kingdom
  • Workforce