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Improving research evidence through conversations

29 October 2015

How to improve the following scenarios:

'…we are often the users of research, but if you haven't actually considered our needs up-front, the research outcomes may well not be relevant for us'

'…we know it is grant writing time when people ring up and say – 'can you help me get a consumer signature for the form?'

Consumer representatives have an important role to play in informing and strengthening research directions as well as generating new ideas. Yet researchers are not always trained to engage effectively with them and it can be a challenge for some. It can be hard to know where to start. Conversations can be a good way to begin.

Conversations are an important delivery channel for awareness, education as well as action. Conversations with consumer representatives generate more transparency, openness and accountability as well as research which is more relevant to the needs and values of a community.

Engaging consumer representatives can also open unknown doors that allow researchers to access services/information/networks they may not have known existed. Consumer representatives can work as champions for the research, help with tailored dissemination strategies and even help problem solve if the planned research process does not go as expected.

It helps to engage in different ways: formal and informal. Take the time to foster the relationships and recognise the need to reimburse the costs of consumer representatives invited to your events.

How to start? Well, talking is always good …

A breakfast conversation, led by consumer representatives and researchers, will be held at Flinders in the City on Tuesday 24 November 2015. The event is a part of the Reducing the Research/Policy/Practice Gap Initiative. This is a unique collaboration between the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand (HSRAANZ), Primary Health Care Research & Information Service (PHCRIS), South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and Cancer Voices SA. Our aim is to support productive engagement and collaborations between researchers and research users.


This news item was featured in This Week in PHC Issue: 29 October 2015.

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