Participation - finding out what difference it makes

Terms used in the guide

Some of the words used in this guide are explained in more detail here.

advisory group
The group of eight service users and carers who helped to advise the research and the production of this guide.
What gets in the way of finding out what difference has been made by taking part and joining in.
Finding out exactly how things are now, so that you will be able to know whether anything has changed later on.
Communication is the way we understand what other people mean and let them know what we mean; it needs to be open and honest.
The term used for finding out how something is working, whether it has led to any changes and what kinds of difference these changes have made.
Proof that things have changed; examples of the differences that participation has made.
A benefit that arises from some identifiable end result or outcome. It is usually specific and is something that is evident.
findings box
The main messages from the research are given in these boxes for each of the nine big questions. Follow up the reference numbers.
grey literature
This term is used to describe reports, toolkits and other documents that have not been published but are very useful.
ideas box
Suggestions to help you evaluate the difference that participation makes - one box for each of the nine big questions.
indicators (milestones)
Signs to show that there is progress being made and that changes are beginning to happen. These might be different for different people.
A benefit that arises from the process of participation itself. It may not be evident except to the person who feels the benefit.
Another word for taking part, though involvement is not always seen as quite so active as ‘participation’.
Networks are strong links between groups of people. They can link many different groups of people together, which can give them more power by acting together and sharing information.
The results of taking part. The outcome is the end result and is usually specific and planned.
The general word for getting actively involved, joining in and taking part.
Power can come from many sources, and it helps you to do what you want to do. Differences in power (for example between service users and paid workers) can stop participation from being successful if the differences are not changed.
practice sites
The organisations that were contacted as part of the research for more details about the ways they were evaluating service user participation. References to the practice sites are displayed as follows: (Site 1).
The outcome is the end result and the process is the way you get to the result. Sometimes that journey can be as important as the arriving, so the experience of participation is part of the evaluation.
research reviews
These reviews collect the findings from many other studies on a similar topic and usually make comments on them.
stages of participation
Adaptive and transformational (see Toolkit 7 for further explanation).
Toolkits are handy ‘how to’ guides with practical ideas about doing evaluations. References to toolkits are displayed as follows: (Toolkit 1).