Patient participation in health research: Research with and for people with spinal cord injuries

Tineke A. Abma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Traditionally, patients are rarely seen as partners in health research; their influence on priority setting, research design, the undertaking of research, and interpretation and dissemination of findings was marginal. Nowadays, health researchers, funding agencies, governments, and patient organizations are beginning to acknowledge that the passive role of patients in health research is no longer satisfactory. The emerging commitment and consensus concerning the aims and features of patient participation in research have created a need for an appropriate method to engage patients as partners in health research. In this article, the author argues that a responsive-constructivist approach to evaluation fits with the aims and features of patient participation. She illustrates its potential with a case example that concerns a dialogue among patients and (clinical) researchers in the field of spinal cord injuries. She reflects on learning experiences and the (un)expected difficulties and potentials in creating social conditions for patient participation in health research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1310-1328
Number of pages19
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

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