Drawing straight lines along blurred boundaries: Qualitative research, patient and public involvement in medical research, coproduction and co-design

Louise Locock (Corresponding Author), Annette Boaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Biomedical research policy in many countries has adopted the principle of active involvement in research. However, how different approaches to involvement such as patient and public involvement/engagement (PPIE), qualitative research, participatory research, co-design and co-production sit alongside each other, is
contentious and unclear. There has also been a subtle shift in the discourse, with the language of co-design and co-production used more widely in debates about involvement. This shift has surfaced once again debates about what counts as meaningful involvement. In this paper we seek to contribute to this debate by exploring boundaries and overlaps between them. We suggest that they share some underpinning philosophies and all are prone to be challenged on the grounds of tokenism despite avowed good intentions. We argue that these different approaches are not necessarily as distinct as is often advocated and question whether there is merit in this family of marginalised approaches working more collaboratively to give patient voices greater traction. At the same time, we recognise that this creates challenges and tensions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-421
Number of pages13
JournalEvidence & Policy
Issue number3
Early online date2 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019



  • patient and public involvement
  • qualitative research
  • co-production
  • co-design
  • WORK
  • Qualitative research
  • Co-design
  • Patient and public involvement
  • Co-production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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