Read more about the PPI Feedback Study Loop – how feedback failure undermines health research

The first study examining the role of feedback in health research projects involving patients and members of the public (PPI research) has found that a fifth of PPI contributors never received feedback on how their input has shaped the research project.

The NIHR-funded study, which has been published in the journal Health Expectations, revealed that 82% (more than four fifths) of PPI contributors felt that receiving feedback was very or quite important and with a similar proportion of researchers (87%) stating that giving feedback was very or quite important. Despite this, the findings showed that 19% of PPI contributors never received feedback and 11% of researchers said they never gave feedback to those who had been involved in research. One contributor, who had been involved with 13 studies, had not received any feedback on the last five research projects they had helped with.

The important contribution that public involvement can make to research is widely accepted, with different models of working together including consultation, collaboration and co-production. Providing feedback to PPI contributors regarding the usefulness of their contributions is an important way of developing positive relationships between researchers and contributors. However, despite the first reports of researchers failing to feedback to PPI contributors being made more than 10 years ago, routine feedback rarely occurs.

The study was led by Elspeth Mathie and Helena Wythe, researchers in the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire, and funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East of England (CLAHRC EoE) Programme.

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