Critical perspectives on 'consumer involvement' in health research

Paul Ward, Jill Thompson, Rosemary Barber, Christopher Armitage, Jonathan Boote, Cindy Cooper, Georgina Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    113 Citations (Scopus)


    Researchers in the area of health and social care (both in Australia and internationally) are encouraged to involve consumers throughout the research process, often on ethical, political and methodological grounds, or simply as 'good practice'. This article presents findings from a qualitative study in the UK of researchers' experiences and views of consumer involvement in health research. Two main themes are presented. First, we explore the 'know-do gap' which relates to the tensions between researchers' perceptions of the potential benefits of, and their actual practices in relation to, consumer involvement. Second, we focus on one of the reasons for this 'know-do gap', namely epistemological dissonance. Findings are linked to issues around consumerism in research, lay/professional knowledges, the (re)production of professional and consumer identities and the maintenance of boundaries between consumers and researchers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-82
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Sociology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


    • Commodification
    • Consumer involvement in research
    • Consumerism
    • Epistemology
    • Lay knowledge
    • Professionalization


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