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Title: Voices of experience: service users as advisors in a research project on the needs of homeless women

Authors: Hilary Abrahams; Joe James; Lucy Powell; Emma Williamson; Karen Morgan; Ailsa Cameron; Lorna Henry

Addresses: School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, UK ' TARA Project, c/o E. Williamson, University of Bristol, UK ' TARA Project, c/o E. Williamson, University of Bristol, UK ' School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, UK ' School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, UK ' School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, UK ' School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, UK

Abstract: Whilst researchers are increasingly required to demonstrate patient or participant involvement in the design, implementation, and dissemination of their research, very often that involvement is lacking in continuity, is defined by the researchers themselves, and is subject to the criticism of being tokenistic. This paper discusses the role played by service users in advising on a longitudinal study of the health and social care needs of a cohort of homeless women in a major city in England. It explores the experience and impact of including service user advisors within research from the perspective of the advisors themselves and researchers. Although it was a steep learning process for all concerned, the advisors became a valued part of the research team and valued the experience themselves.

Keywords: service users; service user advisors; homeless women; participation; research methods; engagement; impact; healthcare needs; social care needs; homeless females; UK; United Kingdom.

DOI: 10.1504/IJQRS.2015.069777

International Journal of Qualitative Research in Services, 2015 Vol.2 No.1, pp.13 - 27

Available online: 11 Jun 2015

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