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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


PONS-VIGUES, Mariona et al. Public participation in research from the perspective of primary health care researchers. Gac Sanit [online]. 2019, vol.33, n.6, pp.536-546.  Epub Jan 27, 2020. ISSN 0213-9111.


Explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for development of public involvement in research by Institut Universitari d’Investigació en Atenció Primària Jordi Gol (IDIAPJGol) according to primary health care researchers in Catalonia (Spain).


Cross-sectional study carried out in 2017 with 36 primary health care research teams accredited by IDIAPJGol and its management staff. An open questionnaire (paper and online) was designed and piloted to develop a SWOT technique, and 65 answers were obtained (14 in paper and 51 online). A thematic content analysis was carried out.


Most informants consider public involvement in research a useful, innovative, viable and essential strategy, but it requires a change of mentality and a move away from the hierarchical paradigm. It can be difficult to execute and can complicate studies. They are concerned about which citizens should be involve, how to select them, possible conflicts of interest and training needs. The main proposals for its implementation are to disseminate previous strategies, encourage motivation and synergies among citizens, researchers and institutions, and to clarify the roles of the actors involved. IDIAPJGol should develop recommendations for the public involvement in research, encourage their inclusion, have a mentor and advise the research teams.


Despite the challenges, developing public involvement in research in primary health care is essential and feasible, what it is more should be based on a participatory strategy with all actors. The citizens can participate in any kind of design and phase of the research, adapting each project, being the primary health care a privileged area to develop the public involvement in research.

Keywords : Primary health care; SWOT; Research; Citizen participation.

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