Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework

image representing an element piece for Research focus and study designPart 1: Research focus and study design

  • Summary
  • Issues
  • Questions
  • Record Card
  • Resources


The research focus includes the discipline within which you are working (e.g. health services research, public health, mental health, etc); the population the research is concerned with (e.g. people with experience of a particular health problem) and the specific research question the research is addressing (e.g. effectiveness of a new treatment for diabetes or users’ experience of a service and/or their health needs).

The study design refers to the type of methods used in the research at a macro level (e.g. randomized controlled trial; qualitative ethnography) and at a micro level of data collection (e.g. face to face interviews, clinical tests).

Describing your study design when you are reporting on public involvement will help to improve the evidence base on PI impacts.


Decisions about which approach to adopt to PI and the processes of PI within a research project will be affected by the type of research you are doing.

Public involvement in qualitative research may be different from in clinical studies.

Different populations may have different experience of being involved in research, different reasons for getting involved and different expectations of involvement. This may affect their willingness or the extent to which they wish to be involved.

There may be particular ethical or practical issues with involving particular groups e.g. children or people with dementia. This does not mean these groups should not be involved but careful consideration need to be given to how best to do this.

Public involvement may have different impacts at different stages of your research. It is important to take this into account when designing your impact assessment.


What is your research topic and what will your study design be?

What are the main implications of your research topic and study design for the general approach(es) to public involvement you plan to adopt and the specific method(s) you will use?

At what point in your research process do you anticipate public involvement will have an impact?

How will you address any potential barriers to your public involvement that result from your research topic and design?

How will your research topic and design shape the type of PI impacts you might expect to see?

How might an impact assessment be designed to take into account the relationship between your research focus and study design and the impact you wish PI to have?

Record Card

Record card example


Table of resources for this element
Resource No.DescriptionDownload
#4Research Topic and Study Design database: Signposting resource showing existing studies that have assessed PI impact within a range of research contextsdownload icon