During the Covid-19 pandemic allied health professional (AHP) and healthcare science student’s programmes were severely disrupted. In response, our research team conducted a study to explore the impact of the rapid transition to online delivery for this student cohort.
Methods: Six final year students were recruited as co- researchers into a research project using online focus groups to examine the student experience during Covid-19. The inter-professional students were trained to facilitate focus groups (n=6) whilst working in pairs. Two students committed to a “research placement” within the project to help with analysing the data using thematic analysis. A parallel analysis of the student researchers experience was conducted.
Results: Lessons learnt through the co-researcher approach will be presented. The co-researchers valued the experience and skills they developed. Challenges included the online environment, probing for deeper meaning during focus groups and maintaining their identity as a co-researcher amongst their peers.
Conclusion: Involvement as co-researchers enabled students to develop 21st century graduate skills, research experience and maintained a strong student voice throughout the research. This approach has the potential to empower graduates to break down the barriers to research in clinical practice and build stronger research cultures for the future.