New guide to co-producing research

Co-authors Harminder Kaur and Philip Kerrigan are delighted to announce the launch of Stronger Together: a guide for co-researchers working on co-produced projects.

Front cover of booklet showing a wide range of people collaborating to create the letters for the text of the title

Back in November 2018 I co-organised an event with colleagues in the University’s Research Development Team that brought together around 40 researchers from across all three faculties of the University to showcase and share best practice in co-production. The event revealed a clear appetite for further capacity-building, training and practice-sharing activity going forwards. At a follow-up meeting and in individual discussions with attendees, I asked whether it might be helpful if I were to create a how-to-guide and reference manual on co-production for academics.

I received a positive response but several people told me that what would be even more useful would be if I could devise a short booklet that would introduce members of the public to what to expect from taking part in a co-produced research project. What the researchers wanted was a guide that would explain to prospective and new co-researchers the underpinning principles of co-production, that would highlight the benefits to them of taking part as well as alert them to some of the challenges, that would introduce some of the techniques and that would provide important practical information about remuneration, data protection and safe-guarding.

I decided that if I was to do this, then it very much needed itself to be an exercise in co-design and co-production. I was lucky enough to meet co-author Harminder Kaur at an event organised by Martin Webber in the School for Business and Society that was celebrating the completion of a study on which she had been a co-researcher. When I discovered at the event that Harminder had had a particular hand in the authorship and design of some of the impressive materials generated, I recognised that she would be the ideal person to work alongside and so it proved. It is indeed her vision, understanding and experience that underpins the guide. We also consulted with a number of other co-researchers and experts by experience, with academics, and with third sector organisation with particular expertise in this area, including the ‘McPin Foundation’ and ‘Shaping Our Lives’, all of whom were extremely generous with their thoughts and time.

We engaged Lincoln-based artist Jade Sarson to create the vivid and characterful illustrations which convey so well the both empowering and power-sharing ethos of co-production and the diversity of communities engaged. The talented Yorkshire-based designer Annina Diston generated the overall design.

Harminder and I hope that this resource will be one more useful tool to help boost the effectiveness of your engagement. We would be delighted to receive any feedback – please email – and please do share the resource with your friends and colleagues.

Philip Kerrigan

CFH Project Officer

Stonger Together Guide to co-producing research (PDF , 6,610kb)

Screen-reader friendly version of the guide