Anyone who:1) has worked on a research project for which their lived experience with one or more of the following communities was a requirement for the job:• lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) communities• racialized communities• communities of people who use drugs• consumer/survivor/mad/mental health service user communities2) Was paid or compensated for this work.
There is a movement towards increased community engagement and participation in research. Both funders of research and communities recommend meaningful engagement of communities under study throughout the research process. One mechanism of engagement is the inclusion of peer researchers. Peer researchers are researchers whose lived experience with a subject being studied is a requirement of their employment with a research project. Peer researchers may enhance the research through their lived experience. The engagement of peer researchers is also intended to benefit both the peers and the communities to which they belong. However, despite being widely recommended, there has been very little research on the process, context, and outcomes of peer researcher engagement.
Peers Examining Experiences in Research Study (PEERS) is a qualitative, community-based project that aims to address this question. PEERS is a team of academic, community-based, and peer researchers who are examining how peer researchers experience their involvement in research with four communities:
• lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) communities
• racialized communities
• communities of people who use drugs
• consumer/survivor/mad/mental health service user communities
The objectives of this research are to:
a) examine how peer researchers experience involvement in the context of participatory research.
b) determine how peer researchers experience benefit and/or harms from their involvement in participatory research.
c) Identify similarities and differences in experiences of inclusion, benefit, and harm between four communities whose members are commonly engaged as peer researchers: LGBTQ2S+ communities; racialized communities; communities of people who use drugs; and consumer/survivor/mad/mental health service user communities.
d) identify and disseminate research practices that attend to important differences between communities to best achieve the emancipatory aims of participatory methods.
We will use our findings to make recommendations for participatory research in general, as well as research with these four communities specifically, to maximize the meaningful involvement of peer researchers.
How will this research help LGBT people and communities?
We hope to learn about what research practices can best support meaningful involvement of peer researchers, within the LGBTQ2S+ communities and across the four communities that are the focus of this study.
Participating in PEERS will involve taking part in a one hour interview. Compensation of $30 and return TTC transit fare will be provided.
Name: Kendra-Ann Pitt
Dr. Lori E. Ross
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grants Program