In 2016, the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Coordinator for the Oxford CLAHRC piloted some training workshops for PPI contributors with the aim of increasing their knowledge and confidence to get involved with research. In 2017, the venture was repeated in collaboration with the PPI Manager from the Oxford BRC and addressed topics that had been requested by attendees from the previous series. In 2018, the PPI Manager of the Oxford Health BRC joined the team and a PPI contributor from each organisation was invited to join the organising group.
Each workshop is run by one or more speakers, all of whom kindly give their time freely, with support from members of the organising group. The workshops consist of a presentation element, with the opportunity for attendees to ask questions, followed by an activity to do in small groups. There is a break of 20-30 minutes in the middle for refreshments and to provide everyone with the chance to chat and network.
This series of workshops has been held in different venues all based in Oxford. These include the Oxford Quaker Meeting House, Wolfson College and the Peartree Holiday Inn. No venue is perfect but the organisers have made sure they are all wheelchair accessible, provide some parking and can be easily reached by public transport.
Attendees’ travel expenses are paid and tea, coffee, biscuits and fruit are provided. Each workshop is ‘hosted’ by one of the three organisations and they meet all costs for that event, with a reconciliation being done at intervals to ensure the expenditure is split equally.
Organisers ask for feedback through an anonymous evaluation form at the end of each workshop and this has led to small changes being made to the sessions as we go along. For example, there are always lots of questions from attendees so now in order to ensure that the speaker can get through all their content in the allotted time, a system has been introduced where people are asked to write any questions that aren’t directly relevant on a post-it note for the speaker to answer later on. Feedback from the evaluation forms will inform the format and content of subsequent workshops.
“Very good workshop; great interactive presenter; encouraging people to participate more.”
“I really enjoyed this workshop, and felt it was very well explained and presented.”
“Well planned workshop, enjoyed immensely.”
“Thanks to all involved for the session. Very worthwhile.”
For the future the group is looking to develop a further series of workshops. They are also creating a virtual learning environment based on the research cycle workshops so people who can’t attend in person can access the information.