PPI, paradoxes and Plato: who's sailing the ship?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, patient and public involvement (PPI) has become a requisite in applied health research. Some funding bodies demand explicit evidence of PPI, while others have made a commitment to developing PPI in the projects they fund. Despite being commonplace, there remains a dearth of engagement with the ethical and theoretical underpinnings of PPI processes and practices. More specifically, while there is a small (but growing) body of literature examining the effectiveness and impact of PPI, there has been relatively little reflection on whether the concept/practice of PPI is internally coherent. Here, the authors unpick a 'paradox' within PPI, which highlights a tension between its moral and pragmatic motivations and its implementation. The authors argue that this 'professionalisation paradox' means we need to rethink the practice, and purpose, of PPI in research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Ethics, Research
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Metaphor
  • Patient Participation
  • Professional Competence
  • Public Opinion
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Research Support as Topic
  • Social Responsibility


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