New guide to co-production of research with older people

2 December 2016

MICRA academic Dr Anna Goulding has launched a new guide to co-producing research. The free online resource is targeted at anyone looking to involve end users more centrally in research, particularly older people.

‘An introduction to co-production for the Ambition for Ageing programme’ draws on the experiences of the Ambition for Ageing programme, the £10 million Big Lottery funded project tackling social isolation amongst older people in Greater Manchester. Older people are central to the programme, working to connect communities and people through the creation of relationships, helping to develop places that are age-friendly and that will empower people to live fulfilling lives as they age. The booklet highlights the benefits of co-production, looks at the principles that inform co-production and helps researchers plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate the co-production process.

Author sociologist Dr Goulding argues that using a co-produced approach makes ethical and practical sense. “Co-production helps develop older people’s independence and their influence on policy decisions affecting them”, she said. “Policy makers benefit too as older people are the most knowledgeable experts about the opportunities and challenges provided by living in an area.”

Co-production offers older people greater control over the research and design process, with the aim of developing sustainable projects that are relevant to the needs that they identify. The Ambition for Ageing programme sees older people not only participating in the research but carrying out research themselves. The guide also includes case studies of different participatory methods from other research projects including walking interviews, photographing the experience of chronic pain and using art as a stimulus for debate.

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