Providing feedback to consumers
This page provides reasons why feeding back to consumers on their contributions is essential
It is good practice to provide feedback to those you involved so that they can understand whether their contributions have made a difference.
One survey from Cancer Voices NSW indicated that some consumers (19%) did not feel valued because they had received little feedback from researchers. Similarly, a paper by Mathie et al (2018), also observed that consumers sometimes, did not even hear if their contributions and comments have been received, have been used or if they were beneficial. They suggest that those that involve consumers in their research should:
- Promptly confirm receipt of any contributions and comments, offering thanks and appreciation.
- Give honest, candid but sensitive feedback to consumers on their comments by understanding and appreciating an individual’s motivation for involvement.
- Let consumer members know if grant/ethics committee applications were successful or not and if not, why.
- Confirm how their feedback was used or if it was not, providing reasons (e.g. word limit, outside scope of study design, governance issues, ethical implications, doesn’t quite fit with current research evidence in this area).
- Keep consumer members updated on how the study is progressing, especially during periods where the is little contact (e.g. by sending out regular newsletters (emails, twitter)
- Ensure consumers are made aware of the outcomes of your trial/study and if academic papers have been published.
Feedback also supports the learning and development of the consumers you involve. Those who receive feedback are often motivated to volunteer for other involvement projects.
- Mathie, E et al. Reciprocal relationships and the importance of feedback in patient and public involvement: a mixed methods study. Health Expect (2018);21:899-908.