Health intervention research has been criticised for a lack of focus on investigating acceptability, before examining efficacy and effectiveness. There are clear moral and ethical arguments for giving voice to service users’ experiences of helpful and unhelpful factors in health interventions, thereby ensuring that our research is relevant to their needs. While such work is now usually a requirement of funding bodies, it may still be viewed as simply a hurdle to be mounted before the real research begins.
A lack of investment in this stage of the research process can weaken later quantitative evaluations, and is arguably symptomatic of a wider under-valuing of qualitative research in psychology. Qualitative research is vital to understand mechanisms of change, identify target populations, and inform intervention development.
This presentation will seek to provoke debate around the place of accessibility research. It will review different ways in which this work can be undertaken, by for example contrasting patient participation with patient involvement. It will then describe a recent study exploring the accessibility of an 8-week mindful eating programme.