Engaging citizens living in vulnerable circumstances in research: a narrative review using a systematic search

N. S. Goedhart*, C. A.C.M. Pittens, S. Tončinić, T. Zuiderent-Jerak, C. Dedding, J. E.W. Broerse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Although public engagement in research is increasingly popular, the involvement of citizens living in vulnerable circumstances is rarely realized. This narrative review aims to describe and critically analyse concerns and corresponding strategies, tools, and methods that could support the inclusion of these citizens in health research. The 40 studies that are included were thematically analysed using the socioecological model. Concerns originate most often on the intrapersonal level of the socioecological model, but concerns were also identified at institutional, community, and policy levels. It is thought-provoking that there is a lack of attention for the research and policy structure in which engagement practices are designed, implemented and evaluated. More research is needed to explore how these cultures could be changed in a way that promotes rather than restrains the engagement of citizens living in vulnerable circumstances in research and policymaking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalResearch Involvement and Engagement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully thank Dr Ana Diaz-Ponce, project officer, Alzheimer Europe, Dr Bego?a Nafr?a Escalera, patient engagement research coordinator, Sant Joan de D?u Children?s Hospital, and Dr Tjerk-Jan Schuitmaker, Athena Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for their help with developing our search strategy and refining our focus during the screening process.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Citizens living in vulnerable circumstances
  • Health inequalities
  • Methods
  • Narrative review
  • Patient engagement
  • Public engagement
  • Socioecological model
  • Socioeconomic inequalities


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