You may come across different terms that are used to describe public involvement, such as patient and public involvement (PPI), service user involvement, lay involvement or consumer involvement.
Sometimes involvement is incorrectly described as engagement or participation in research.
- Involvement in research refers to an active partnership between members of the public and researchers. This means that members of the public work alongside the research team and are actively involved in contributing to the research process as advisers and possibly as co-researchers.
- Engagement is where information and knowledge about research is provided and disseminated to or by the public.
- Participation refers to the process of people taking part in the research study. These three activities – involvement, engagement and participation are different but are also linked and complement each other.
Another common mistake is to confuse Patient and Public Involvement in research and qualitative research. They are two very different activities. In short, Patient and Public Involvement in research is as we have described above and qualitative research is a research methodology employed in studies with research participants.