Unlocking Innovation and Insights: The Importance of Inclusive Research

This week, Picker celebrates National Inclusion Week by highlighting our practices as an inclusive employer. As a health and social care research charity, it is important to spotlight some ways we strive to achieve inclusion in the research we conduct with patients, staff, and service users.

Person centred care

To champion the best possible person centred care, it is essential that we hear from a range of individuals and communities with varying views and experiences, including those from minority, marginalised, and under-represented groups.

We know that these groups face additional barriers when accessing and working in health and social care, and we want to ensure that we do everything we can to avoid excluding anyone from taking part in our research. Therefore, we engage with relevant stakeholders, such as through advisory groups and workshops, to plan, design, conduct, review, and test research approaches and materials to maximise inclusivity.

Maximising inclusion in research

To maximise inclusion in research, it is important to develop materials and communications that are written in plain English, are user friendly, age appropriate, and accessible to people with a range of access requirements. This includes recruitment information, questionnaires, and interview guides, as well as providing screen-reader friendly online materials, and making content available in different languages and formats. Some examples of how we embed inclusivity and accessibility within our research are detailed below. 

  • As part of the Under 16 Cancer Patient Experience Survey development we designed and developed three versions of the survey suitable for different age groups. Thorough cognitive testing of each version allowed us to maximise accessibility and inclusion to ensure that as many children as possible were able to participate and share their experiences. We also ensured the survey results were easy to understand by creating an easy read version of the findings in 2021, which is available on the survey website.
  • For our Independent Evaluation of the Q community, commissioned by the Health Foundation, we are engaging the Health Foundation’s Inclusion Panel to review outputs, including surveys and interview topic guides, to ensure that the materials are as accessible as possible to Q members. The research methods were developed with inclusion in mind, utilising a mixed methodology that includes surveys, interviews and workshops which allows members to engage with the Evaluation in various ways. Our flexible approach has also allowed us to adapt our research to support individuals with different accessibility requirements, including providing written topic guides in advance of interviews for those who are hard of hearing.

An ongoing commitment

We are committed to understanding the health and social care experiences of each and every person, no matter who they are or how they identify. In collaboration with our partners at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Picker redeveloped the gender questions in the Children and Young People’s survey, using insight from gender-diverse children and young people, and LGBTIAQ+ organisations. This has maximised the accuracy of the demographic data that the survey captures.  

By making our demographic questions inclusive and our research process accessible, we are better able to understand how different groups of people may experience receiving or providing care. This means we can analyse and present data by subgroups, supporting our clients to address inequalities and differences in the experiences of the populations they serve.

Picker continually reflects on how accessible our research methodologies are and actively seek opportunities to improve inclusion in research. We are conscious that creating a safe and welcoming research environment is an ongoing process and are open to feedback on improving our efforts. No change is too minor in ensuring diversity, inclusivity, and equality in research.

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