Participatory Approaches in Ageing Research: Studying Health and Care with Older Adults



The inclusion of older people as co-creators of the research process is a relatively new concept comprising a number of approaches like “inclusive research”, “user-led research”, “community research”, “participatory action research” (PAR), “collaborative research” or “co-research” (Blair & Minkler, 2009; Guijt, 2014; INVOLVE 2012). Participatory approaches are getting attention also in ageing research focusing on health and care across the fields of gerontology, nursing studies, and disability studies, and we observe a growing interest in public patient involvement (PPI) in health and care research (Fudge et al., 2007; Leamy & Clough, 2006). In this special issue we want to further advance discussion on participatory approaches in ageing research focussing on health and social care. By highlighting potential of participatory approaches not only to improving healthcare products but also to address the particularly pronounced power imbalance in the health and care systems (between patients and doctors, or nursing home residents and staff). Co-production is essential to ensure the priorities of participants are identified, expressed and communicated effectively.

Therefore, in this special issue we want to look closer at the role of participatory approaches in ageing research focussing on health and care, and discuss how we can gain insights to older adults’ experiences, facilitate their voices, and thus reorient research and policy towards more inclusive and adequate healthcare that caters for the diverse needs of different groups of older adults. The special issue hence aims to initiate an interdisciplinary debate in international gerontology on the significance of participatory approaches in ageing research focussing on health and care. Consequently, this special issue (1) looks at the research process through the lens of known and emerging benefits and challenges resulting from involving older adults as co-creators; (2) showcases projects across different jurisdictions that use participatory approaches researching about health and care (3) advances scientific insights into participatory approaches in ageing research focussing on health and care in older age.


List of topic areas 


  • Care-ethical responsibilities of researchers in participatory approaches with older adults
  • Public Involvement into practice 
  • Participatory action research 
  • Empowerment of older adults


Guest Editors

Anna Urbaniak,
University of Vienna (Austria) & Jagiellonian University (Poland), 
[email protected] 

Anna Wanka, 
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany, 
[email protected]


Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at: 
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Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal. 


Key deadlines

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 31 March 2023
Closing date for abstract submission: 31 January 2023 
Email for submissions: [email protected]