BACKGROUND: In gerontological research, older people are often used as test subjects. Participatory research means the active and equal involvement of those affected by the research question, i.e., the subjects and the academic researchers. But what is the interest in participatory research among older people who participate in an educational institution of the third age? In order to answer this question, participants of a senior university were interviewed.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The survey was conducted as a standardized postal survey combined with an optional online survey of participants from the Senior University of Zurich (Switzerland). The sample consisted of 811 persons aged between 56 and 96 years.
RESULTS: Of the respondents 24% had already participated in a participatory research project and of these, older people and people with a high level of education were more likely to be involved, as were people who are more likely to be extraverted and who regularly volunteer. Of all respondents, 62% were interested in participatory research projects. In a multivariate perspective, interest depended on age, education, volunteering and experience with such research projects.
CONCLUSION: The interest in participatory participation among Senior University members was high. This interest was more pronounced among people who already had experience with such projects. Further studies should evaluate the interest in research participation on the basis of implemented participatory projects and define optimal framework conditions.