Participatory research with older people

Holland, Caroline (2008). Participatory research with older people. In: Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 14-17 May 2008, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, pp. 308–309.


This paper draws on recent experiences in the UK of involving older people as active participants in research. It draws on two recent projects that have involved older people in different ways. The first was a year-long study of social interactions in public places, in which pairs of local observers aged from 16 to 73 conducted structured and ethnographic observations in one English town, and contributed to analysis of the emergent findings. The second was a UK-wide study of age discrimination in which older people participated at several levels of involvement: as diarists, interviewers, panel respondents, and members of discussion groups. From this several smaller sub-projects emerged, stimulated by emerging findings and individual participants' interest in further study of specific issues. We set these two studies in the context of other recent work involving older researcher-participants, and a funding and policy climate that emphasises service user involvment in social research.

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