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‘But is it a question worth asking?’ A reflective case study describing how public involvement can lead to researchers’ ideas being abandoned

Lookup NU author(s): Zena Jones, Emerita Professor Helen Rodgers



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: It is good practice for the public to be involved in developing research ideas into grant applications. Some positive accounts of this process have been published, but little is known about when their reactions are negative and when researchers’ ideas are abandoned. Objective: To present a case study account of when an academic-led idea for funding was not supported by stroke survivors and carers who were asked to contribute to its development, together with a reflection on the implications of the case from all the stakeholders involved. Design: A reflective case study of a research idea, developed by an academic researcher, on which stakeholders were consulted. Participants: University researchers, clinicians, public involvement managers, and stroke survivors and carers from the NIHR’s Stroke Research Network. Findings: Although the idea met with the approval of health professionals, who were keen to develop it into a funding bid, the stroke survivors and carers did not think the idea worth pursuing. This lack of patient and carer support led to the idea being abandoned. Reflecting on this, those involved in the consultation believed that the savings accrued from abandoning the idea, in terms of ensuring that public money is not wasted, should be seen as an important benefit of public involvement in the research process. Conclusion: Little is known about the role of the public in the abandonment of research ideas. We recommend that further research is undertaken into this important contribution that patients and the public can make to health research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Boote J, Dagleish M, Freeman J, Jones Z, Miles M, Rodgers H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health Expectations

Year: 2014

Volume: 17

Issue: 3

Pages: 440-451

Print publication date: 01/06/2014

Online publication date: 31/05/2012

Acceptance date: 19/01/2012

Date deposited: 07/08/2017

ISSN (print): 1369-6513

ISSN (electronic): 1369-7625

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1369-7625.2012.00771.x


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