Participation also leads to more success in the final and implementation phase of projects. Parties that work together are able to spread their results better and give them a place in daily practice.
Publishing in scientific journals is important for researchers. But there can only be real social benefit if the results are put into practice. The role of peer experts is of great importance. What their role looks like exactly is a matter of customisation. One thing is certain, their importance cannot be underestimated.
When analysing the results, it may be the scientist's turn to make a move, but when interpreting them, the view of the target group is important. What emerges? Experiential experts sometimes explain findings in a different way than scientists. Or they find some results more important for their peers.
In this way they help to place the results in the right context. By asking for feedback on a draft report in a focus group, for example, the researcher can include this valuable information in the final result.
Using research results in daily practice starts with spreading the results. This obviously goes easier and faster if target groups are already involved. In addition, they reach more parties faster; besides their own peers, they also communicate with doctors, practitioners and insurance companies, for example.
For effective communication, it is wise to write a plan together at an early stage. To whom, how, when and where can the results be made known? In the plan, determine concrete ways and channels to make the information accessible to professionals, patients and their caretakers. Consider, for example, a newsletter, a knowledge platform or information meetings for patients and practitioners.
In order to give results a structural place in daily practice, you need to do more than just spreading the results. Sometimes processes within organisations have to change or old habits have to disappear. Peer experts know the daily practice like no other and know what is needed to achieve this change.
A good implementation process takes patients and caretakers as its starting point. What are their problems? What would help them? How do they think the intended changes can be achieved? Read more about the impact of research results on the ZonMw website.
'Of course it's important that a scientific publication is published, but we all know that publication often takes a long time. I think it's really unethical to say: 'It will take a year for the scientific publication to be published', and then make those who have participated in your research wait for a year.
Marjolijn Ketelaar,senior researcher child rehabilitation / UMC Utrecht / De Hoogstraat Revalidatie
The goal of participation is better healthcare, a better life. You can't achieve that with a scientific publication. If you've started a process together, you cannot write about it as a researcher without involving the people you worked with.
Christine Dedding, Associate Professor Amsterdam UMC, specialisation participation/co-creation
'For KOPLOPERS, we are making a digital magazine. And we (young people from the KOPLOPERS research, about participation with mental vulnerability) provided the input for it with interviews and videos. It has become a very lively magazine, which also fits in with the project, where you can scroll through, with lots of images and articles. As peer experts, we can give feedback and then the product will be made. Later on, we will also play a role in the PR and distribution of the magazine.'
Tim Knoote, member youth team KOPLOPERS, research on young people with mental disabilities
'As researchers, we often forget how important it is to make our findings accessible to patients. We might publish a nice report, but no thought has been given to spreading and implementing the results. Let alone reserving budget for the costs of a good translation. We have a responsibility to return investments in research to society. Moreover, it is our duty to the patient. After all, we have questioned them endlessly to obtain the necessary information.'
(Source:brochure Gespreksstof, only available in Dutch)
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