Peer leadership in research and evaluation

One of the core values of our approach to research at PAN is “Meaningful Engagement and GIPA/MEPA”. In practice, this means that people with lived experiences (sometimes known as peers) must be engaged in research at all points in the process, including being actively engaged in developing and leading research. One way that this has shown up in our work and the work of others engaged in community-engaged/community-based research and evaluation is the formal engagement of people with lived experiences in research roles, such as working as community researchers or Peer Research Associates on research projects.

People with lived experiences in these roles in a way that builds strong relationships, supports working together in a positive way, and guides research towards the end goal of supporting the communities we serve. We have collated some resources below that may be helpful to research and evaluation teams in considering best practices in these roles and relationships. 


Peer Involvement and Leadership

This video, developed and presented by Peer Research Associates on the Making it Work study, shares experiences, reflections and considerations for peer involvement and leadership in research, as well as at organizations and in programs and services – for example, how peer leadership can facilitate comfort and increased willingness to share within programs and services. This presentation also ties peer involvement and leadership to the concepts of case management and community development.  


PAN’s Checklist: What needs to be in place to support peer researchers? 

This handy resource, developed out of interviews with the six Peer Researchers that worked on the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index, offers brief reflections and lessons for supporting peer researchers as a summary of those experiences. Some areas outlined within the Checklist include considerations around training needs, support resources and capacity-building.  


Working with Peer Research Associates 

This engaging webinar, held by PAN in October 2019, engaged a panel of former Peer Researchers from the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index to discuss “their experiences working on the project, and offered their thoughts on best practices to teams which include or are thinking of including [Peer Researchers] in their work”, building on PAN’s Checklist 


Walk the Talk: A Support Framework for Working With Peer Researchers 

This slide deckdeveloped and presented by James Watson (Coordinator, Community-Based Research and Peer Initiatives, National Stigma Index Coordinator at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michaels Hospital, Toronto) at the September 2020 meeting of the CBR in BC Quarterly Meeting, offers a support framework for working with Peer Researchers, including considerations around administrative, educational, economic, emotional, cultural and methodological support. This slide deck also describes ‘implicit tasks’ required of peer researchers in their work, such as disclosure and engaging in emotional labour. 


Working Together: Considerations for Engaging Peer Researchers 

This slide deck, developed and presented by Anita David (Peer Mentor, GetCheckedOnline) at the January 2021 CBR in BC Quarterly Meetingprovides an overview of a wide variety of topics related to engaging Peer Researchers throughout the entire lifespan of a research project. Examples of topics discussed includequipment, compensation, and communication and support considerations. This deck also includes practical examples of applying these considerations to your work 


Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
This post was prepared for PAN’s Research and Evaluation Treehouse by:

Joanna Mendell, Director of Research and Evaluation: joanna [at]

Madeline Gallard former Community-Based Research Coordinator, and Katsistohkwí:io Jacco, former Graduate Research Trainee.