"Do the best you can until you know better"

Maya Angelou

In this guide we aim to get you started in Public and Community Involvement and Engagement (PCIE) at the Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS). The aim of this guide is to give you a sense of what you need to be thinking about when it comes to involvement and engagement and how to do it well. PCIE can enhance the value of research, so we hope to give you some clear guidance on good practice.

ARC KSS, as part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), require all research they fund to have included PCIE, or justify why it is not being used. It is a key cornerstone of good research practice, ultimately leading to more relevant, good quality and useable outcomes. It helps you to ask the right questions and design research that meets the needs of local people. It will also mean that you are giving those that draw on health and social care support and the public, the opportunity to guide the research, i.e. you are doing it with them. It will give you the opportunity to get to know the communities in which you work. Very often, the communities have the solutions. PCIE is about constant improvement by learning from each other and being open to new ways of thinking.

There is so much information already out there about PCIE that it can be a little overwhelming. So, we have attempted to bring the best advice together in one place, and create a practical and concise guide for researchers at ARC KSS. Each section gives a short overview of the topic with links which will direct you to further information on different subject areas, should you need it. There is also an appendix which contains some tools you may find helpful.

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