Involving older people as co-researchers

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:02:00 GMT

The Gerontologist (one of the top journals in ageing research) has published a recent paper by MICRA's Tine Buffel. Tine's paper reports on an innovative methodology of co-production involving older people as co-researchers to develop age-friendly communities. Evaluating the potential and limitations of co-research with older people has become an important task for social gerontology, especially given the support for co-production that now exists within funding bodies and policy organisations.

The paper explains how a group of eighteen older adults were recruited and trained as co-researchers to take a leading role in a study aimed at developing ‘age-friendly’ communities in the Manchester area. This group of co-researchers completed 68 interviews with residents aged 60 and over who were experiencing isolation within their neighbourhood. The study takes into account that although increasing amounts of evidence suggest that co- or peer-research can contribute to understanding the complex health and social problems experienced in later life, only a limited number of studies have actually involved older people as co-researchers in this way, or if they have that their views have tended to be ignored. This paper draws upon the experiences of these older people trained to undertake a community-based research project and assigns them a leading role in developing, delivering, and disseminating the study.

The findings highlight the importance of a comprehensive training and learning program for developing research skills and addressing the ethical, methodological and practical issues involved in co-research methodology. They also present co-research as an effective method for accessing and incorporating the views of marginalized groups.

You can read the full paper.