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Types of research

Types of research

There are lots of different types of research and ways that you can get involved.

We use the information you provide as part of the registration process to inform you about suitable opportunities as they arise along with details of how you can take part.  It is always your decision whether to take part in anything we tell you about.

Some examples of the types of research you might be invited to take part in:

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Questionnaires and surveys

These are used by researchers to collect and evaluate information and data, for example about your experience of being diagnosed with a certain illness or receiving a particular treatment.

Most questionnaires and surveys are now done online.

 

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Interviews

These are a way for researchers to gather information and data. They allow researchers to explore peoples’ experiences or opinions in more depth than a questionnaire or survey.

Interviews can be held face to face, online, or by telephone.

 

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Focus/discussion groups

This research method brings together a small group of people to discuss a particular topic, for example experience of living with a health condition or using a medical device.

Focus/discussion groups can be held face to face or online.

 

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Observational study

This kind of research looks at outcomes, results or records from large numbers of people, for example to identify if there are any links between a health condition and things such as family history, blood tests or other results. Sometimes this kind of research will also include health tests, such as scans, x-rays or questionnaires.  Observational studies do not involve you testing any tablets, medicines or medical devices.

 

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Clinical trials

These studies are focused on comparing two or more treatments to generate evidence about which is the most effective.

For example, testing a new drug, a new surgical procedure, new medical device such as a blood pressure monitor or inhaler, or new ways to use existing treatments.  Clinical trials are also used to evaluate other aspects of care, such as ways to improve outcomes or quality of life for people with long-term conditions.

 

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User testing

These projects focus on developing technologies, for example smartphone apps and wearable devices that have the ability to support people to manage their own health and/or condition.

 

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Patient and public involvement (PPI) representatives

As well as participating in trials and studies, we share opportunities for people to get involved in all other stages of the research process.  This might be as a co-applicant on a grant application, co-producing a project or trial, as a member of steering group advising or governing research, to help set research priorities, or to help researchers understand some of the barriers to accessing research and how these might be overcome.