Academics have a tendency to become the kings and queens of jargon and abbreviations. One such abbreviation is what we call PPI, or long hand Patient Public Involvement.
(My PA has a bell that he rings every time I use jargon. Apparently, this includes when I make him type explanations of it).
So, what does PPI (ding) mean anyway? In the early days of academic research, much of the work was carried out by medical doctors, scientists and other academics who didn’t involve patients, or the public. Not even in deciding what research questions the academic should be asking. More recently, it has become accepted that people should be involved in the research process and is a required part of what we do. This means that even when the project is just an idea, we talk to lots of people who are affected by or use the services we are studying.
The Flourishing Lives project has included a lot of PPI (ding). We spoke to people with learning disabilities, carers and organizations that provide support for people with learning disabilities to help us formulate the research question. We still want to talk to more people from all these groups who would be interested in taking part in our focus groups! If you are from an organization or a person with learning disabilities or a family carer and would like to find out more about the project, please feel free to email me email@example.com
PPI (ding) is also something that we use once we have gathered the information from our research so that people affected by our work can help us work out the best ways to share what we have done and make a difference. If you have never been involved in a project like this before, don’t let that put you off. Everyone has useful experiences and stories to share about what would make their lives better so the next time you see an advert asking for people to help researchers, maybe you will decide to get involved.