With their different perspectives and insights these researchers have the potential to reveal the unseen within a project
They are often able to highlight new areas warranting attention that have been overlooked by non-peer researchers. They can design research questions effectively and pick up on important themes that may seem insignificant to others.
Peer researchers can unlock the full potential of service user interviews
They are able to establish a rapport in the interview process with an empathy based on their similar experiences. Peer research has the power to break down boundaries between the researcher and the researched, empowering people to take an active rather than passive role in the interview by becoming experts on their own lives.
The peer research element is fundamental to our understanding of those with multiple and complex problems
Peer research should be at the heart of any research looking at the revolving door and the experience of those caught within it. This is particularly important in work that involves the criminal justice system where power dynamics and pre-conceived ideas can often distort research conclusions.
The peer approach can open up promising new avenues of research
We have pioneered peer research in prisons, for example by using serving prisoners to obtain 200 questionnaire responses in just one week. The results were then analysed with prisoners to inform the assessment of health services within the prison system.
Our peer researchers are well trained and supported
When they come to a project our peer group is very familiar with research and fully trained in the correct procedures and techniques. They also have the constant support of specialists within our own team to ensure the quality of the results both for the researcher and for the commissioner.
Peer research supported by the Revolving Doors Agency is already making a national impact.
This ground-breaking peer research into probation is changing the entire approach to commissioning. The work involves offenders and ex-offenders in the service commissioning process in the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Barking & Dagenham. Its aim is to improve health and reduce reoffending for this excluded group through more effective integration of services and improved pathways in the community.
National Offender Management Service
In 2013 Revolving Doors ran two peer research projects in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire with people on probation on behalf of NOMS. A group of probation service users in each area were trained in peer research methods in order to investigate their local probation service. The peer researchers interviewed probation officers as well as their peers on probation and wrote a report for the service managers. Many of their final recommendations were put into practice and several of the peer researchers went on into employment.
This is a new peer research project in partnership with the charity Birth Companions that helps mothers experiencing severe disadvantage during pregnancy, birth and early parenting. The project will recruit, train and support mothers who have direct experience of these issues to investigate vulnerable women's experiences of maternal health services in NE London. The anticipated outcomes for this group include increased self-worth and respect, reduced isolation and loneliness and links into further local and national opportunities to help improve maternal health services for vulnerable women.
Would you like to become a peer researcher?
We’d be pleased to hear from you. Please call 020 7407 0747 or email us using the button below