Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework

Summary of research underpinning the PiiAF

The Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework was based on research undertaken by teams based at Lancaster University and the Universities of Exeter and Liverpool. It was funded by the Medical Research Council Methodology Research Programme and aimed to:

  • Advance understanding of the impacts of public involvement in health and social care research
  • Contribute to more robust assessment of these impacts and to improved standards of practice in PI in research

The research addressed the following five questions:

  • What is already known about the impacts of public involvement in research?
  • How can these impacts be assessed and/or measured?
  • What is known about the factors that are causally linked to these impacts?
  • Can this evidence be used to develop ‘good practice’ standards for PI in research?
  • What areas of consensus/conflict are there about values of PI in research?

The study design involved three elements:

  1. Reviews of knowledge on Values, Impacts & Approaches to PI in research
  2. A Delphi exercise to identify areas of consensus and conflicts around PI in research
  3. Developing and piloting of the Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework and associated guidance

The public were involved in the research in three main ways:

  • The research team included three service user investigators with experience of facilitating public involvement in research
  • Members of the public were recruited in NW and SW England to form a Public Advisory Group, which commented on all aspects of the research
  • A wider National Advisory Network also included members of the public/service users alongside academics and professionals with PI experience. The network met three times to advise on the strategic development and delivery of the project

We also undertook an internal evaluation of the process and impact of public involvement in this research. This involved the periodic and systematic collection of views about and experiences of public involvement. Data were collected from all members of the research team and members of the Public Advisory Group. Findings from the internal evaluation were fed back regularly to the Public Advisory Group and to the project management team which sought to respond to any issues identified. The findings from the internal evaluation have also been used to develop resources for the PiiAF.