Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework

image representing an element piece for Impacts of public involvement in researchPart 1: Impacts of public involvement in research

  • Summary
  • Issues
  • Questions
  • Record Card
  • Resources


Our evidence review identified a wide range of impacts associated with PI in research

Impacts can be classified as relating to the research (e.g. data collection, design and delivery, time and cost) or to the people involved (e.g. members of the public involved in research, academic researchers and funders)

Some impacts may be seen in the short term (e.g. on patient information documents) others may take longer to been seen or be more complex to identify (e.g. on recruitment and/or retention)

Public involvement can have an impact on all stages of the research process from topic prioritisation through to dissemination

Impacts of public involvement can be experienced as positive or negative. They may also be intended or unintended


Identifying the impacts expected at the beginning may shape the processes and actual impacts of PI

It is important to be mindful of the potential for PI to have unanticipated impacts and to look for negative impacts as well positive impacts public involvement

The experience of an impact as positive or negative may vary within a research team

Some pathways between PI and particular impacts are more difficult to establish than others e.g. choice of topics or outcome measures by the public through consultation may be more identifiable than topics/measures agreed through a collaborative process

Much reporting of the impacts of public involvement is of a low quality. In particular, it is important that both positive and negative impacts should be reported

The introduction of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) to assess research quality in UK higher education institutions has brought an increased focus upon the impact of research beyond academia. Public involvement and the assessment of its impact could make a major contribution to demonstrating this wider impact

Expectations about the kinds of impacts public involvement may have on a study should form part of a dialogue between research project team members and the public-involved


Which impacts for PI do you wish to prioritise in your research?

What potential negative impacts might there be and how will you identify these?

How will you acknowledge and address the different impacts that might be expected by the different project stakeholders? (including members of your project team, advisory groups, funders)

How can divergent views (if there are any) within your project team about the impact of public involvement be resolved?

How might an impact assessment be designed to take into account any unintended impacts of your public involvement that may occur?

Record Card

Record card example


Table of resources for this element
Resource No.DescriptionDownload
#7Tabular summary of findings from a review of reported impacts of public involvement in research from PiiAF study Group's evidence reviewdownload icon
#8What do you know about impacts?: Interactive resource to prompt discussion about positive and negative impacts of public involvement on research and on peopledownload icon
#9Database - Methods and tools to assess impacts: Signposting resource to published case examples of methods and toolsdownload icon
#10Exploring areas of consensus and conflict underpinning values and impacts of public involvement in health and social care research: A modified Delphi technique. Delphi final reportdownload icon