Co-designing a cancer care intervention: reflections of participants and a doctoral researcher on roles and contributions

Mary Anne Tanay*, Jo Armes, Catherine Oakley, Lesley Sage, Deb Tanner, Jose Roca, Liz Bryson, Barbara Greenall, Lauren Urwin, Toni Wyatt, Glenn Robert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Patient & Public Involvement is most usually framed in the context of designing, conducting and/or disseminating research. Participatory methods such as Experience-Based Co-Design (EBCD) further allow service users to directly engage in developing, testing and implementing interventions and services alongside healthcare staff. This paper aims to explore how participants in an EBCD project came - over time - to perceive their role and involvement in co-designing a cancer care intervention.
Methods: the findings are based on our reflections, a research diary, email correspondence and fieldnotes from co-design events. Co-design participants who attended most of the ten co-design events took part through written reflections or audio-recorded video calls. Ten reflective pieces were collected from clinicians (n=4), PPI group members/patient participants (n=4), a doctoral researcher (n=1) and a visual illustrator (n=1). Inductive data analysis of participant reflections was carried out using reflexive thematic analysis. Meeting fieldnotes, email correspondence and the researcher’s diary were deductively analysed using the initial themes generated from this inductive analysis.
Results: five main themes were identified: (1) changing perception of roles during the co-design process, (2) defining a ‘co-designer’, (3) engagement and ownership, (4) role of the research facilitator in maintaining momentum, and (5) perceived benefits of involvement.
Conclusion: our findings show the changing perceptions of roles and contributions among participants over time. Patients typically described their role as co-designers in terms simply of sharing their experiences. In contrast, clinicians perceived themselves as co-designers because they were working with patients who were actively involved in decision-making. Levels of engagement were affected by several factors such as time and facilitation, but most participants came to view themselves as co-owners of the intervention. Overall, participants perceived their involvement as a positive experience with clinicians also reporting wider positive impacts on their clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages41
JournalResearch involvement and engagement
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jul 2022


  • Experience-based Co-design
  • Co-production
  • Patient and Public Involvement
  • Intervention
  • Co-design


Dive into the research topics of 'Co-designing a cancer care intervention: reflections of participants and a doctoral researcher on roles and contributions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this