How do you conduct research?
Governance and ethics
There are guidelines and rules in place to ensure research is completed safely and effectively. Ethical considerations in research are a set of principles that guide your research designs and practices. Scientists and researchers must always adhere to a certain code of conduct when collecting data from people. These codes work to:
- protect the rights of research participants
- enhance research validity
- maintain scientific and academic integrity
Research governance sets out the rules, regulations and standards of good practice that exist to ensure the quality of a given piece of research.
Some other key things to consider are:
- if you undertake research in health and social care, independent ethical review is a legal requirement
- before you start the process however, make sure your research is actually research
Here you can find tools and resources that outline how to do research safely and effectively:
- the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research is the policy framework that sets out principles of good practice in the management and conduct of health and social care research in the UK
- learn more on the latest UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and relevant Data Protection and information governance legislations
- you can use the Project or Research Decision Tool to help you decide whether or not your study is research as defined by the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research. The decision tool is based on the Defining Research Table produced by the Research Ethics Service
You can find further information and resources to support research and ethics applications here:
Learn more about the collaborations and networks that provide oversight to the governance of research:
- the UK Clinical Research Collaboration provides a forum that enables all partners to work together to transform the clinical research environment in the UK
- National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people's health and wellbeing, and promotes economic growth
A systematic review is research that aims to identify, select and synthesise all research published on a particular question or topic. Select the following link to watch a video produced by Cochrane that helps explain what systematic reviews are.
Further information and guidance on how to prepare systematic reviews can be found here:
- Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions provides guidance to authors on preparing reviews: handbook.cochrane.org
- Cochrane Evidence for Everyday Allied Health is an evidence blog for the allied health professions: uk.cochrane.org
Service evaluation is used to judge or define current care. A service evaluation answers the question: “What standard does this service meet?”. The results should produce internal recommendations to improve current care. Results of service evaluation are not intended to be generalised beyond the area in which they were produced. The skills and methods needed to conduct a rigorous service evaluation are often the same as skills and methods that are used in research.
You can check that your service evaluation is not classed as research and does not need ethical approval using this tool.
Although service evaluation does not require ethical approval it should always be conducted in an ethical way. Select the link to learn more about ethical guidance Learn more.
For information on all aspects of doing a service evaluation select the following links: