Exploring co-research interviews with older adults: reflections on research practices and building connections

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Hanna-Kaisa Hoppania
Anni Vilkko
Päivi Topo


Previous research has not only shown the potential of co-research with older adults but also pointed out the need for further study, for example on evaluation and how connections are forged between participants. To this end, this paper (1) describes and reflects on the development and implementation of a co-research interview methodology in the NGO sector and (2) analyses the experiences of the participants and the role of shared age group and locality. The results show that the structure of having several interviews and training and reflection sessions was the strength of the method. The co-researchers found the project interesting and even empowering. Expressions of shared age group and local knowledge were common in the interviews and helped build connections. The interviewees
valued their participation in knowledge-production on issues related to ageing. Recruitment, resourcing and support for co-researchers when faced with difficult situations are some of the themes that require further attention.


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Author Biographies

Anni Vilkko, Anni Vilkko holds the title of docent (adjunct professor) at the University of Helsinki

Dr. Anni Vilkko’s field of research is social policy, health politics and policy and human rights. She has published for example on co-housing communities, on older people’s drinking habits and emotion in autobiography. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anni-Vilkko. She holds the title of docent (adjunct professor) at the University of Helsinki. 

Päivi Topo, Päivi Topo holds the title of docent (adjunct professor) at the University of Helsinki. 

Dr. Päivi Topo currently acts as the Ombudsman for older people in Finland. Her research and publications have focused on social exclusion, research ethics and living environments and services for the elderly. Topo has acted as the General Secretary of the National Advisory Board on Social Welfare and Health Care Ethics ETENE. She specialises in using research based knowledge in decision-making and development work. https://vanhusasia.fi/en/ombudsman She holds the title of docent (adjunct professor) at the University of Helsinki. 


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