Background: Patient and public involvement can improve study outcomes, but little data have been collected on why this might be. We investigated the impact of the Feasibility and Support to Timely Recruitment for Research (FAST-R) service, made up of trained patients and carers who review research documents at the beginning of the research pipeline. Aims: To investigate the impact of the FAST-R service, and to provide researchers with guidelines to improve study documents. Method: A mixed-methods design assessing changes and suggestions in documents submitted to the FAST-R service from 2011 to 2020. Quantitative measures were readability, word count, jargon words before and after review, the effects over time and if changes were implemented. We also asked eight reviewers to blindly select a pre- or post-review participant information sheet as their preferred version. Reviewers' comments were analysed qualitatively via thematic analysis. Results: After review, documents were longer and contained less jargon, but did not improve readability. Jargon and the number of suggested changes increased over time. Participant information sheets had the most suggested changes. Reviewers wanted clarity, better presentation and felt that documents lacked key information such as remuneration, risks involved and data management. Six out of eight reviewers preferred the post-review participant information sheet. FAST-R reviewers provided jargon words and phrases with alternatives for researchers to use. Conclusions: Longer documents are acceptable if they are clear, with jargon explained or substituted. The highlighted barriers to true informed consent are not decreasing, although this study has suggestions for improving research document accessibility.
- information sheets
- Patient and public involvement