Parent involvement in research

Parent involvement in research

There are many opportunities for NCT members to get involved in our work to ensure that information for parents is reliable, up-to-date, and based on good evidence.

NCT believes that services and information for parents should be based on high quality evidence and responsive to parents’ needs and preferences, promote public health and well-being, and help to provide a positive start in life for children.  The Research and Information Team play a crucial role in this, and a big part of our effort goes into ensuring that parents are given a voice in research and research-for-policy as user representatives. This is where NCT Research networkers, or simply Rens, come in. 

Research Networkers

If you have an interest in maternity research and would like to volunteer some time, please register as an NCT Research Networker (Ren). There is more information about the role of Rens here.

Reward and recognition 

The Department of Health has published guidance on the principles and practice of reimbursing and paying service users for their involvement in health and social care. It recommends that users are paid expenses for travel, administrative and childcare costs, and encourages payment for ‘significant user involvement’. The guide states: ‘It is best practice that service users involved with service providers in activities that involve "deciding together", "acting together" and "encouraging independent initiatives" are offered payment’. Examples include:

  • where a user is involved to provide a representative view or where he/she is one of a few or the only user representatives for a specific task, regular service improvement planning meeting or working group 
  • where particular skills, commitment, reliability and work output is expected 
  • where individual services users have allotted (sic) to represent a wider group of service users at a meeting 
  • where service users are involved in the recruitment/interviewing process 
  • where people have been invited by the service provider to provide a user's point of view at a particular event

If you would like to read the guidance in full, please click here.

Case studies

Read some case studies from parents who have become involved in research with the NCT and find out how they've made a real difference to new parents across the UK.

Laura standing with young boy in her arms.

Laura James

User reps, with their own experience of maternity care, are really well placed to bring a fresh pair of eyes to policies and recommend changes and often ask the questions that professionals have not thought about.

Mary standing with her two sons.

Mary Newburn

At 16, I chose Sheila Kitzinger’s book ‘Some Women’s Experiences of Childbirth’ as one of my post-GCEs prizes. I was hooked on childbirth as a women’s issue and exciting process from then onwards.

Cynthia sitting with her son and two granddaughters.

Cynthia Clarkson

Do not be afraid to ask for help and support from others both within and without the NCT.

Louise sitting with her two children.

Louise Griew

Be patient, persistent and positive; don’t expect any change to happen quickly – anything less than 2 years is speedy!

Gill sitting with her three sons.

Gill Gyte

You don’t need a research background, you just need to be interested in research and its capacity to change care for women for the better.