Preparing researchers for patient and public involvement in scientific research: Development of a hands-on learning approach through action research

Maarten de Wit*, Anna Beurskens, Barbara Piskur, Esther Stoffers, Albine Moser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)


BackgroundAcquiring the theoretical and practical knowhow of conducting patient and public involvement (PPI) in research is not part of the traditional curriculum of researchers. Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and Huis voor de Zorg, a regional umbrella patient organization, therefore started a 1.5-year coaching programme. ObjectiveTo establish a community of practice by developing a PPI coaching programme for senior and junior health services researchers of Zuyd University. The context consisted of research projects conducted by the participants. MethodsA participatory action research methodology. Data were collected from reports of thematic group meetings and individual sessions with participants, field notes and regular reflection meetings with the project team. Data were analysed by reflexive deliberation. FindingsThe programme comprised a kick-off meeting (52 attendees), followed by 7 group meetings with 11 junior and 9 senior researchers. The project team constructed a serious game based on the concept of the participation ladder. Questions and concerns differed for junior and senior researchers, and separate tailored meetings were organized for both groups. Between group meetings, participants received individual assignments. Group meetings were accompanied by individual coaching sessions to provide tailor-made feedback. The programme concluded with a combined meeting with all stakeholders. ConclusionBuilding a community of PPI practice through action research facilitates the development of a coaching programme that fosters social learning, empowerment and the development of a shared identity concerning PPI. The role and responsibilities of senior researchers should be distinguished from those of junior researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-763
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • coaching programme
  • community of practice
  • health researchers
  • patient and public involvement
  • patient participation
  • LIFE

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