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abstract

The central question in this paper is about the limits and boundaries of the obligation to involve patients or the public in specific research at any point other than when they are being approached to participate. That is, for what kinds of research is there no obligation to involve either patients or the public? This question has important links to the justification of PPI and our understanding of that justification. If we can be clearer about what it is about certain cases that make them not examples where PPI is important, useful or required, then we have learnt something about why we think PPI is required in cases that are different.

The more specific question in the paper is about this ‘limits’ problem as it applies to theoretical, philosophical or ethics research about PPI. This more specific question poses interesting challenges in the context of how we answer the more general question about limits. It also, in important ways, highlights issues about how we think about ethics and what constitutes ‘doing ethics research’.