PEER is an innovative approach to qualitative research and human-centred design.
PEER was developed by Options experts, in collaboration with Swansea University.
Members of a community (PEER researchers) are trained to carry out in-depth conversational interviews with friends in their social networks. By working with established relationships of trust between friends, PEER generates rich insights into how people view their world, and how they make decisions on key issues. PEER is highly effective in generating insights into sensitive issues among hard to reach groups, where stigma and marginalisation makes traditional research methods difficult to implement. The PEER process enables programmes to engage communities in discussions, and ensures that the views of marginalised and disadvantaged groups can be heard.
PEER is designed to be rapid, easy to replicate, and useful in a wide variety of different settings. Our PEER specialists build the capacity of their team to be able to use the method in the future. On-the-job training is essential to successfully build skills needed for this new and innovative approach to research.
In countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the UK, we have used this approach to help organisations to develop evidence-based communications, advocacy, and programmes that reflect the true needs and realities of the communities they work with.