Credibility and the ‘professionalized’lay expert: Reflections on the dilemmas and opportunities of public involvement in health research

Jill Thompson, Paul Bissell, Cindy Cooper, Chris J. Armitage, Rosemary Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary health policy in England places increasing emphasis on patient and public involvement (PPI) in health and health research. With regard to the latter, it has been suggested that PPI brings ‘different’ perspectives to research decision-making spaces, based on what has been referred to as ‘experiential expertise’. This article presents findings from a qualitative study of PPI in cancer research settings in England. We argue that participants highlighted specific forms of expertise in their accounts about involvement, above and beyond experiential expertise, which they felt legitimated their claims to be credible participants within cancer research settings. We report here on the various strategies by which participants sought to accomplish this and highlight, in particular, a concomitant process of ‘professionalization’ of some within our group of participants. We discuss the significance of these findings in the context of recent debates around the status of experiential expertise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-618
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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