Inclusive Involvement in Research - Community of Practice

In 2021-22 we worked with John Gabbay and Andrée Le May (former ARC Implementation Leads) and Public Involvement Contributors to plan and start our “community of practice” around inclusive involvement in research. This resource page archives a series of sessions focusing on different methods for inclusive involvement. 

What is a Community of Practice?

“A group of people who get together to share knowledge and increase their learning around topics that are mutually interesting to them”

What Topics are we discussing?

Ways of making research more inclusive.

Who is involved?

A group or around 10-12 people – public involvement contributors, service users, Public Involvement leads, Healthwatch, researchers, PhD students and practitioners.

What happens in these sessions?

The sessions are one hour long. We start with brief introductions. A short introduction of a method is given for around 10 minutes by one or two people. The facilitator then encourages short comments, statements, queries from those listening. The session is carefully facilitated to give everyone an opportunity to contribute either at the time (or afterwards). Someone summarises at the end of the hour. There is time at the end for reflections on how the session went and a written summary is produced (or parts of the recording are made available).

Our sessions

Session 1: World Café approach

Watch video

Elspeth Mathie, Amander Wellings and Graham Rhodes discuss the World Café method.

if you come with a fixed idea about how you are going to do something, and your audience does not go with it then flexibility is needed” (Amander Wellings)

Note: INVOLVE was established in 1996 and was part of, and funded by, the National Institute for Health Research, to support active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.  Since 2020 the NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination has responsibility.


Session 2: Walking interviews

Watch video

Peter Beresford discusses Walking Interviews as an inclusive data collection method. 


Session 3: Community Connections – Street Conversations

Watch video

Sally Burrows and Clare Hammerton talk about the Community Connections Project and the different methods they used to reach people. 


Session 4: Universal Design in Research

Watch video

Katherine Deane joins us to talk about the importance of Universal Design in Research.

Read Katherine's latest paper here


Session 5: Co-production- is this an empty ritual?

Watch video

Sandeep Singh Saini and Neil Woodbridge discuss co-production in terms of their organisation, Thurrock Lifestyle Solution: The User-led organisation for Thurrock

They provide practical tips and ways that ensure coproduction values are upheld.


Session 6: A Public Involvement journey towards a multi-case study using Participatory Action Research

Watch video

Su Conquer (from Healthwatch Suffolk) shared her experiences from her professional career and PhD. She has attended a number of our previous community of practices and wanted to discuss her learning about coproduction and the impact it has on design and transformation within integrated care. She shared her practical experience in a short presentation, leaving plenty of time for discussion and comments from those attending.


  • Produce a suite of different methods, discussing issues such as accessibility, inclusivity, diversity, ethics.
  • The Community of Practice will disseminate these discussions within their own work and research to reach others.
  • Increase awareness, knowledge and practice of using inclusive methodology
  • We have a Padlet for ideas -  (and the summaries are on these

  • Please feel free to add to the Padlet and suggest topics for discussion.

    Any more information, please contact


  • “This is a really accessible and unintimidating way of getting up to speed on any research method for both expert researcher and novice. Certainly helped me.”

    Peter Beresford, Co-chair for Shaping our Lives, Visiting Professor at the University of East Anglia and long term mental health service user

  • “The community of practice sessions about inclusive research methods are brilliant. The mix of people who attend ensures a really interesting discussion each time, and everyone’s perspectives combined influence how people can think about the different topics. I have learnt a lot about more accessible and collaborative ways to collect and share information to improve research.”

    Su Conquer, Healthwatch Suffolk

  • “The community of practice meetings have advanced my knowledge of this method, and the individual components associated with using it. Hearing about personal experiences from Patient and Public Involvement members and researchers has provided me with alternative perspectives, which have highlighted the diverse considerations that are required from the planning stages, through to the feedback delivered at the conclusion of the sessions. Learning about the community of practice method has been extremely interesting and it is exciting to see how it really can create combined knowledge from everyone involved.”

    Amanda Farwell, PhD student at the University of Essex and ARC EoE

  • “It’s good to have the opportunity to share research methods with others, to discuss the pros and cons from my perspective - a neurodivergent viewpoint. It’s important to think outside the box to make methods accessible to all.” 

    Amander Wellings, ARC EoE public involvement contributor