Partnering with older people as peer researchers

Jean Daly Lynn, Margy Washbrook, Assumpta Ryan, Brendan McCormack, Suzanne Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The term peer researcher describes the role of a person who has similar characteristics and can identify with the participant group in a research study. This paper describes the methodological approach and experiences of older people who were peer researchers on a study that explored the lived experience of people with dementia who lived in technology‐enriched housing. Methods: Nine people responded to a public recruitment campaign through nongovernment organisations using multiple methods such as seniors' forums, development officers and social media. Mandatory training across 2 days was provided and seven peer researchers successfully completed the training. A total of 22 interviews were undertaken by the seven peer researchers. The data collected from the training feedback proforma (N = 7), interview debrief forms (N = 22) and final evaluation forms (N = 5) were analysed using content analysis and triangulated. Results: Five core themes emerged from the data using a content analysis approach to examine the peer researchers' experience: (1) skill development; (2) recognition of competencies; (3) connection; (4) supplementary information; and (5) the triad dynamic. Conclusions: Considerations to enhance the peer researcher experience emerged including enhanced communication training, consideration of the optimum number of peer researchers to balance workload and identification of the characteristics that enable people to connect as peer researchers. Future research should consider the impact that experiential skill development has on the data collected. Public Contribution: Older people conducted qualitative interviews as peer researchers with people living with dementia to cocreate knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1879-1889
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number5
Early online date1 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the project researcher Janeet Rondon‐Sulbaran and our co‐researchers for their time and commitment to the TESA‐DRI project. The project was funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division Public Health Agency and Atlantic Philanthropies (COM/4955/14).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • coresearch
  • gerontology
  • older people
  • peer researcher
  • qualitative data collection
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Humans
  • Peer Group
  • Research Personnel
  • Aged
  • Communication


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