Evaluating patient and public involvement in health research: from theoretical model to practical workshop

Health Expect. 2017 Oct;20(5):826-835. doi: 10.1111/hex.12486. Epub 2017 Jun 30.


Background: There is a growing literature on evaluating aspects of patient and public involvement (PPI). We have suggested that at the core of successful PPI is the dynamic interaction of different forms of knowledge, notably lay and professional. We have developed a four-dimensional theoretical framework for understanding these interactions.

Aim: We explore the practical utility of the theoretical framework as a tool for mapping and evaluating the experience of PPI in health services research.

Methods: We conducted three workshops with different PPI groups in which participants were invited to map their PPI experiences on wall charts representing the four dimensions of our framework. The language used to describe the four dimensions was modified to make it more accessible to lay audiences. Participants were given sticky notes to indicate their own positions on the different dimensions and to write explanatory comments if they wished. Participants' responses were then discussed and analysed as a group.

Results: The three groups were distinctive in their mapped responses suggesting different experiences in relation to having a strong or weak voice in their organization, having few or many ways of getting involved, addressing organizational or public concerns and believing that the organization was willing to change or not.

Discussion: The framework has practical utility for mapping and evaluating PPI interactions and is sensitive to differences in PPI experiences within and between different organizations. The workshops enabled participants to reflect collaboratively on their experiences with a view to improving PPI experiences and planning for the future.

Keywords: evaluation; health research; knowledge spaces; mapping experiences; public involvement; theoretical framework.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Chronic Disease
  • Community Participation / methods*
  • Community Participation / psychology*
  • Group Processes
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Mental Health
  • Patient Participation / methods
  • Patient Participation / psychology