BACKGROUND: Funding bodies in Australia and the United Kingdom require research on issues that affect the lives of people with intellectual disability to be inclusive. Debate continues about the nature and benefits of inclusive research, which has become an umbrella term encompassing a broad spectrum of approaches. METHOD: This study proposes one method of inclusive research, the 'collaborative group' approach. It examines the processes used to conduct a study involving academics and self-advocates, presenting findings derived from an inductive analysis of field note data, interview and meeting transcripts. RESULTS: Five components are identified: shared and distinct purposes of participants equally valued, shared involvement and distinct contributions equally valued, flexible, adapted research methods, working as a group with trusting relationships and dispersed power, and scaffolding for inclusion. CONCLUSIONS: This collaborative group method potentially results in better research than either academics or self-advocates could achieve alone and has multiple knowledge outcomes with differing accessibility and complexity. BACKGROUND: When people with an intellectual disability and researchers from universities or other organisations do research together it is called inclusive research. People have worked together on research for a long time but there are still some questions about why we should do it and the best way to do it. METHOD: This paper talks about one way of doing inclusive research that the people who wrote the paper call 'collaborative group approach'. They did a big project with a group of people with an intellectual disability and talked and thought a lot about what they were doing. What they found out. There are five parts to working this way; (i) Having some of the same and some different reasons for doing the research (ii) Doing some things together and doing some things apart (iii) Being able to change things as you go so people can do what they want to do and are good at. (iv) Knowing each other well and being able to work together equally. (v) Thinking about the way you work all the time to make sure people are doing what they are good at and what they want to do. CONCLUSION: If people work this way it might lead to better research and understanding about the lives of people with an intellectual disability.