`On the inside' : research in partnership with a client reference group

Jessica Lopez, Ione Lewis, Jan Abello, Marie Beattie, Deborah Mapp, Pat Prior, Glenda Wood

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article presents the participation of a client reference group in a qualitative research study which explored clients’ experiences of counselling and natural therapies services in a women’s health centre. The article focuses on the development of working relationships between the reference group and researchers using a capacity building approach which facilitated a two-way exchange of skills, knowledge and experience. This ensured that the views of clients and community members were represented in the research design, thereby increasing its rigour and accountability and fostering social inclusion. Members’ reflections on their journey and the changes they experienced as outcomes of the research process are presented. Ethical issues in working with the reference group are explored. Some members experienced vicarious traumatisation as a result of their exposure to data on domestic violence. This analysis of the use of a reference group and its beneficial impact on research outcomes will be of interest to other researchers looking to work with a client reference or advisory group.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-180
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Social Inclusion
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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