Older people in research: participatory co-research and the role of digital technologies

Older people in research: Interdisciplinary participatory co-research and the role of digital technologies

Funded by a university Central Research Excellence award this interdisciplinary project, across three universities, brings together researchers from the Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Arts and the Business disciplines.

It focuses on how to best engage older people in creativity through participative research and the role of digital technologies in this.

A team of researchers from Oxford Brookes University (Sarah Quinton, Daniela Treveri-Gennari and Silvia Dibeltulo), Turin University, Italy (Rebecca Pera) and Maynooth University, Ireland ( Sarah Culhane), led the programme of three interactive workshops and co-researcher activity across Italy, Ireland and England, in collaboration with Age UK Oxfordshire, Oxford over 50s, the University of the Third Age, Italy (UNITRE) and Age Action, Ireland.

The three workshops comprised:

  • The first involved active scholars and community stakeholders in defining the characteristics of participatory research with older people and the role of digital technology in February 2021
  • The second workshop in April 2021 concentrated on the enactment of creativity by older people as a way to build resilience and enhance wellbeing
  • The third workshop in June 2021 explored the role of older people as co-researchers in a digital era in which the older co-researchers reported their findings to an expert audience and live ‘jamboard’ reflection was collated

The three workshops have resulted in the establishment of a network of engaged stakeholders who will continue to interact to enhance scholarship and knowledge on participatory research with older people.

A wide variety of data was collected including; video, images of creative outputs, live captured post- it notes via Jamboard software, as well as audio and text based material. Once analysed, the data from these workshops will create a framework for good practice for research involving older people, alongside academic publications, and this framework will be publicly available from the project microsite in early 2022. For further information please contact Sarah Quinton sequinton@brookes.ac.uk.