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Patient and public involvement entails research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public, rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. The word public can refer to patients, potential patients, carers and people who use health and social care services, people from organisations that represent people who use services as well as members of the public. Patient and public involvement is often abbreviated to PPI.

Public engagement encompasses the various ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public in a two-way process. Engagement encourages researchers to listen and interact with the general public.

Whereas patient and public involvement focuses on a specific research project, programme or process, engagement can connect with the public discussing science on a more general level or addressing topics like research ethics. Public engagement can also include opportunities for researchers to discuss their preliminary ideas for future studies or get people involved as contributors and conducting part of a research project as citizen scientists.

The following academic journals are dedicated to publishing examples and commentary on patient and public involvement and engagement:
•    Research for All
•    Research Involvement and Engagement