Service users as peer research interviewers: why bother?

Harding Rachel, Whitfield Grahame and Stillwell Neil

in Social policy review 22

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9781847427113
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303497 | DOI:
Service users as peer research interviewers: why bother?

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This chapter focuses specifically on service users' involvement as peer research interviewers. It points out that this approach, while part of a wider methodological commitment to challenging the objectification of service users within research, represents just one method of doing so, and is notably distinct from ‘user-led’ research. It draws on two studies undertaken within the social housing sector to outline the rationale, methods and ethics of peer interviewing, and to assess its strengths, as well as its risks. It argues that through this research approach, benefits can accrue to the peer interviewer, the service user being interviewed, and the ‘quality’ of the research process and data gathered. It suggests that the benefits associated with peer interviewing are contingent on the effective management of the risks involved. It provides useful guidance on how best to minimise risk and maximise the benefits of peer interviewing, while also advocating further evaluation of the research approach.

Keywords: service users' involvement; peer research interviewers; user-led research; social housing sector; peer interviewing; research approach

Chapter.  7463 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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