Research blog: Learning how to be a critical friend to researchers

Lisa Doughty is a research worker in the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London.  She facilitates a number of patient involvement initiatives, and tells us here about a recent training day held for new members of the FAST-R research review service:

On Tuesday 10th May, our new cohort of FAST-R reviewers arrived at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, to learn how to be critical friends to our research colleagues. The FAST-R service is just that, really – a fast review service for research documents. Our expert service users and carers form a panel who, upon request, provide feedback to researchers within seven working days. The service is funded by the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre.

Following the always nerve-wracking introductions, we started by looking at what research is, and the wide range of research types and topics the service covers. The reviewers learnt they could be reviewing documents on topics from psychosis to eating disorders, medications to therapies, and a range of research methods including clinical trials and qualitative studies.

Two of our current reviewers then took to the floor to talk about their experiences as a FAST-R reviewer. They talked about their own training, the skills and experiences they bring to the review process, what actually happens during a review meeting, and some of the varying studies they have worked on.

Patient Information Sheets and Consent Forms were covered in depth, as these are the most frequent documents we review, with sample forms for the trainee reviewers to get their teeth into.

Lunch followed with an opportunity to network and mingle. We then looked at ethical considerations and the importance of Patient and Public Involvement in studies, before putting everything we had covered to the test with some case studies in the form of a ‘real’ review meeting.

All too soon the day was over and it was farewell for now, but hopefully it won’t be too long before we see everyone again for their first review session!

Using the FAST-R service is free of charge, and researchers can apply to use it as soon as they have a draft study protocol. They can apply at any time, and there is no limit to the number of times the service is used.  Find out here about FAST-R and other support that we offer to researchers.


Tags: Patient and carer engagement and involvement -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 17 May 2016, 11:49 AM


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