This paper presents a coherent framework for designing and evaluating public involvement in research by drawing on an extensive literature and the authors' experience. The framework consists of three key interrelated dimensions: the drivers for involvement; the processes for involvement and the impact of involvement. The pivotal point in this framework is the opportunity for researchers and others to exchange ideas. This opportunity results from the processes which bring them together and which support their debates and decisions. It is also the point at which research that is in the public interest is open to public influence and the point at which the interaction can also influence anyone directly involved. Judicious choice of methods for bringing people together, and supporting their debate and decisions, depends upon the drivers of those involved; these vary with their characteristics, particularly their degree of enthusiasm and experience, and their motivation.
Keywords: consumer involvement in research; patient involvement in research; public involvement in research.
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