Building stronger user engagement in age research: Full report and summary

  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland

18th March 2014, CARDI

Dr Brendan Murtagh


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Building stronger user engagement in age research

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Ageing research flourishes when the research community connects with the relevant players from government, voluntary and community sector, business and older people themselves. As a result many funders of research and researchers themselves are recognising the benefits of engaging with service users. This research, carried out by Dr Brendan Murtagh, QUB on behalf of CARDI funded by OFMDFM (NI), reviews the nature of user involvement in research and how this can be strengthened to improve the quality of age research in Ireland, North and South.

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Executive Summary

Key Findings

  • There is a need to define and differentiate between involvement, participation and engagement.
  • The advantages of effective involvement include producing research that is considered relevant and important by older people; understanding what ageing means to older people; ensuring that research has a stronger impact; developing skills among older people; challenging ageist assumptions; and generating data to be used as a campaigning resource by older people.
  • Involvement must be appropriate to the needs of the research. It must add value and strengthens its reliability, validity and impact.
  • Older people get involved in research for a variety of reasons, including a desire to make a difference, to work on an issue or policy area that has affected them personally, to strengthen their skills and to socialise through an interesting participatory activity.