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 when you register to inform you about suitable opportunities and details of how you can take part.  It is always your decision whether to take part in any research 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 health condition, or receiving a particular treatment.

Most questionnaires and surveys are now done online.


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These 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

These bring together a small group of people to discuss a particular topic, for example peoples’ lived experiences of managing and maintaining their own health.

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


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Observational study

These look 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 medicines or medical devices.


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Clinical trials

These compare two or more treatments to see which is the most effective.

For example, looking at new ways to use existing treatments, testing an exercise or lifestyle programme, or helping to develop new drugs.  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.


User testing

These 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 representatives

As well as promoting 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, co-producing, steering group member, helping set research priorities, or helping researchers understand the barriers to accessing research and how these might be overcome.