A Charette is an intensive workshop that brings together patient/public partners and health researchers, healthcare practitioners, decision-makers, and policy-makers. It is particularly useful in collaboratively coming to a consensus around the design of a research project as it allows workshop participants to get a baseline understanding of the research topic, learn from each other's perspectives, debate and discuss possible alternatives, weigh choices, set priorities and research conclusions. The process starts with general sessions that involve stakeholders reviewing key issues, outcomes and processes and gathering any aspirations or concerns about the issue. Then the process splits the topic into 'parts' which are given as 'assignments' to the subgroups. For example — "What outcomes should the research project look at?",  "What is the best way to collect the data?", and "Who should be the one to collect the data?". Subgroups discuss their 'assignment' and then share with the bigger group. The next round of subgroup discussions then addresses the feedback that came out of sharing with the larger group. This process is repeated until consensus can be reached around the appropriate research design elements. Note that it is important that researchers are present as resource people for the subgroups in order to provide support and any additional information that may be required by the group to come to a decision


Charettes can be useful for:

  • Co-developing the research design with patient/public partners so that methods are sensitive and appropriate to the needs of people with lived experience of a health issue(s).
  • Helping to amalgamate diverse perspectives and elements into the design of a research project.


Note: Preparation for Charrettes is very important and can take many months to organize. Charrettes can run from three days to two weeks. The number of participants can range from 50 to over 1,000. When running a Charrette, it would be beneficial to use other participatory methods (i.e. briefings, interviews, panels, review sessions, World Cafes, participatory decision-making, etc.) to support the discussion and involvement of patient/public partners. It is also a good idea to use professionally trained facilitators.


 Additional Resources : 

1. Participatory Methods Toolkit: A practitioner's manual