Reviewing the Effectiveness of Participatory Health Research: Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Janet HarrisEmail author


Participation in health research is becoming more important as health systems are challenged to contain costs in the face of ageing populations and increased demand for support with chronic and long-term conditions. Partnership working, community engagement and participation in the process of designing research and delivering health interventions are now a major focus for funders, requiring high-quality evaluations of effectiveness. Systematic reviews of these initiatives indicate that they are effective, but providing explanations for how and why participation works is difficult due to thin reporting of the process. This chapter outlines the challenges of conducting reviews of participation in health research, including how to assemble an experienced review team, construct definitions of participation and impact and locate good information on participation in health research. Solutions for reviewing participation are presented, based on international guidance for systematic reviews and practical experiences of conducting reviews on participation and community engagement.


Systematic reviewing methods Participatory reviews Participatory research Action research Community engagement 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Sheffield, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)SheffieldUK

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