Uncover new insights with peer research

Whether it’s finding out how people really feel about issues like Brexit or COVID-19, or other challenges facing communities such as regeneration, health, education or cohesion, our peer research services unlock voices that traditional research just doesn’t get to hear. These voices can help your organisation develop better solutions and services for the communities you serve.

Our peer research can be used to gain lived experience insight into:

  • A new product or service, such as gaining end-user insights to develop a new healthcare app or community food delivery service.
  • An existing product or service, such as hearing from families about their experience of special educational needs provision or local authority employment services.
  • Building better community relationships, when looking at integrating new housing developments into existing communities or understanding the needs of specific community groups.

Peer Research the Institute for Community Studies

The Institute has over 60 years of experience working with some of the most diverse communities in the UK, delivering research and innovation that drives positive impact. We focus on putting people at the heart of social change and involve our peer researchers in co-design of research questions and tools, as well as the analysis of findings. We’ve developed the 10 principles of peer research to set new standards and maintain high quality delivery.

Our Services

The Institute offers a range of peer research services which can be tailored to your needs and those of the communities you work with:

Peer Research

Our trained peer researchers are passionate about making positive change in their communities. They carry out their research where they live, utilising their connections to access and record diverse experiences, stories and unique insights about the things local people care about. We have a growing network of peer researcher hubs across the UK - including in London, the North East, South West, Midlands, Scotland and Wales. If you’re looking to connect with a specific community that’s not already within our network, we can recruit and train new peer researchers, providing them the necessary skills to become effective researchers within their community.

Project Consulting

We work with you to translate your research needs and aims into a project brief and project timeline. We then work collaboratively with peer researchers to co-design research questions and tools that meet your brief. We manage your research project end-to-end, coordinating the team, collecting, transcribing and processing the data and insights that are gathered during the project.

Data Analysis & Reporting

We’re experienced in helping organisations turn insight into action and positive impact. We analyse and synthesise the peer research outputs into actionable insights. You can decide how you need the project results to be presented, in a meaningful way that speaks to you and to the communities you work with. This might be an engaging report, presentation, infographic, an event to engage a broader community - or other creative output.


We can also support your organisation to develop the peer research skills of your staff and/or a local team of peer researchers. We’ve developed a comprehensive interactive training curriculum for adults and young people that can be delivered both virtually and in-person. Training modules include research skills and key topics like recruitment, consent and safeguarding.

National Peer Research Centre

If you’re already conducting peer research or champion the use of lived experience and peer research, we’re building a centre to ensure high quality peer research is at the forefront of decision making and change within communities. To find out more follow this link. Whatever your organisation’s needs, our peer research team and network of peer researchers can support them. If you’d like to discuss your requirements or ideas, contact peerresearch@youngfoundation.org.