“Home Thoughts from Abroad”: Reflections on the History of Participatory Health Research in the UK

  • Jane SpringettEmail author


This chapter presents an overview of some of the influences on the development of PHR in the four nations of the UK in the context of the changing political and economic landscape of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Four of the strands that have informed PHR have been the overseas development tradition, community development, teacher education action research and the work of Peter Reason in Management Science. A strong impetus to development within health came from the healthy cities and health promotion movements of the 1980s and 1990s which were further encouraged by the public and patient engagement initiative with the NHS in the early 2000s. More recently the trend towards public engagement by universities and the need to demonstrate research impact have provided a further challenge as well as an opportunity for this type of research to demonstrate its benefits. However, the tension between top-down bureaucracy and grassroots ownership and control inherent in PHR continues to play out in the broader political landscape.


History Participatory action research UK Community development Health promotion Public engagement 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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