Research Design Service: East Midlands
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Improving PPIE in RfPB research applications

  Created on Friday, 17 Jan 2020. Posted in Design Tips

Doing public involvement in the right way

  • Don’t over-complicate it - use people to get a second opinion, help you, critique your application
  • Ensure PPI activities are not treated merely as a tick box exercise, but have a clear purpose/role in improving the research study
  • Use a range of engagement techniques - focus groups, individual conversations, surveys etc
  • Respect the expertise patients bring - value their time (inc. payment) and give equal voice

Improve plain English summary (PES)

  • Read the INVOLVE and NIHR guidelines about how to write a plain PES
  • Make sure PES explains the research, not just the reason for it
  • PES tend to suffer from the same problems of language, layout, etc
  • Use lay people to write PES. Often if PPI comes from academic profession, the PES remains over complicated despite their help

Description of public involvement in grant applications

  • Weave PPI description throughout the application, if you just put it at the end then reviewers have to piece it all together - make their job easier!
  • Make sure your application ‘fully’ costs PPI involvement
  • Ensure early stage researchers have adequate mentoring and strong co-applicants
  • Use INVOLVE guidelines on how to work out accurate and fair payment for public members involved in the research

Value of PPI to research design

  • Make sure the difference PPI has made to the application is explained
  • Good PPIE makes the research better - it’s not just about giving ‘lip-service’ to a requirement.
  • Get lay person with good communication skills to check Plain English Summary even before initial submission.
  • Don’t use the words ‘we will invite people’ - involve them from the start.
  • Good PPIE doesn’t happen overnight. Demonstrate that you've built those relationships?

Clarity of public co-applicants

  • Ensure application has clear role described if PPI co-applicant present
  • Mandatory use of PPI payment guide from INVOLVE. Only give choice of vouchers if it will affect public members on benefits.

Having the right people involved

  • Ensure PPIE is reflective of the communities you are working with
  • Make sure the application is studying a diverse enough group to be applicable more widely
  • Think about how to balance, including people, the research is intended for with the tasks/skills you need for PPIE
  • One person’s view is not enough - you need to talk to lots of patients
  • Involve relevant members of the community to help identifying the specific terms of the project proposed
  • Beware patient group endorsement - they will always support research into their topic
  • Ensure researchers think about participants belonging to patient groups
  • PPI can help you identify compounding factors that might influence your intervention, e.g. in a randomised study how many people might access intervention (especially when exercise / online support) independently.
  • Ensure participants are involved in dissemination - get them tickets to conferences, etc.