How older people became researchers: Training, guidance and practice in action

Mary Leamy and Roger Clough

This report outlines how a group of older people became involved in a three-year large-scale research project and how they used it as a platform to enable them to become researchers in their own right.

A project detailing the experiences of older people learning the skills of research, drawing out practical guidance.

Involving lay people in the research process is increasingly popular to, but we are only starting to examine the mechanics of how to do this and the accompanying benefits and drawbacks.  This report outlines how a group of older people became involved in a three-year large-scale research project and how they used it as a platform to enable them to become researchers in their own right. It combines practical guidance with an account of this project, in an attempt to shed light on the realities of involvement.

With detailed accounts of older people’s experiences throughout, the report:

  • describes the development and structure of the university-validated certificate in Social Research Methods for Older People, on which the project centred;  
  • explores, through the personal perspective of a novice teacher, the practical and theoretical issues around teaching older adults;  
  • examines the effects on the people taking part, the effects on organisations involved, and the quality of the research. 
  • discusses students’ reasons for getting involved and their expectations. 

The report concludes by reflecting upon the reasons for the continued involvement of older people, and describes subsequent research courses designed to respond to their desire to build upon and use their new research skills.

Older people as researchers: Evaluating a participative project examines related issues.

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