Increasing consumer consultation is a priority for those involved in health and social care research and practice, with promoting greater public participation being widely accepted as 'a good thing' (Reason, 1994: 3). However, whilst such consultation may improve the quality of research and practice, there is a need to recognise the considerable investment of time and energy that is required for success (Baxter et al., 2001). Given the extra resources needed, it is important to understand how consultation and user involvement can work to benefit all parties.\ud \ud This paper describes our experiences of working together on a research project exploring people's involvement in decision-making processes when using care services in later life. When we started the project in March 2001 each of us could draw on a range of experiences that we hoped would make a valuable contribution. We have now worked together for over two years and this paper describes how our combined efforts have not only enhanced the overall quality of the research but also had personal benefits that we did not anticipate when we started ou
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