It is a great idea to get public members involved right from the very start of the project, when ideas are forming and the research question is still being considered. Sometimes researchers think they know what questions need to be investigated, but when they actually speak to those affected by the topic, they may discover the question actually needs to be tailored or even change the direction the research was heading in.
Do not panic if you have already identified your research question by the time you are reading this, or indeed, if your topic has already been decided by a research funder or commissioner. You can still involve the public by asking them how the topic is relevant to them. Listen, respond and talk through with them how their ideas can be included in your research questions and whether they can help you make sure your desired outcomes are clear.
"You don't know what you don't know."
(Reaching Out workshop attendee)