A framework for public involvement at the design stage of NHS health and social care research: time to develop ethically conscious standards


Researchers who conduct studies in health and social care are encouraged to involve the public as early as possible in the process of designing their studies. Before their studies are allowed to start researchers must seek approval from a Research Ethics Committee, which will assess whether the study is going to be safe and ethical for patients or healthy volunteers to take part in. The process of ethical review does not consider how researchers work with patients and the public early on to design their studies. Furthermore, there is no requirement for researchers to seek ethical approval for public involvement. However, in our work advising researchers about public involvement we have found that the ways in which researchers involve the public in the design of their studies are sometimes unintentionally unethical, and this is the focus of our paper.

Sam Goold,

1st April 2019

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  • Research methods

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