Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research

Latest News

Bias in clinical trials

  Created on Monday, 07 Oct 2019. Posted in Guidance

If you are aware of a significant potential for bias when designing a study, to address an important question to the NHS, then name it. Demonstrate in your application that you recognise the bias and come up with ideas on how to tackle it! The funding committee will otherwise identify it and it will be seen as a fault that has been overlooked and confidence in your team will be lost.

When answering a commissioned brief look out for the phrase 'applicants to define', it's a recognition that bias if a strong possibility and provides applicants with the opportunity to demonstrate creatinve solutions to address it.

To listen to Hywel's vlog in full:

New best practice guidance for public involvement

  Created on Tuesday, 09 Jul 2019. Posted in Public Involvement | Guidance

NHS Health Research Authority have launched new guidelines on how to involve patients and the public well in research.

The new webpages introduce four key principles for best practice in public involvement:

  1. Involve the right people – people who have lived experience relevant to the health condition or social care situation being researched, and to the people the study will aim to recruit as participants
  2. Involve enough people to provide a reasonable breadth and depth of views on the issues that are likely to be important to the people the study will aim to recruit, and who it is intended to benefit
  3. Involve those people enough in as many aspects of the study as is feasible, productive, and appropriate to the research - and at the right times
  4. Describe in your application how it helps using the question specific guidance in the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) to make it clear how involving people well helps to address potential ethical issues

Tips and guidelines on questionnaire design all in one place

  Created on Tuesday, 14 May 2019. Posted in Guidance

Questionnaire Design Resource Centre is a library of tips and guidelines on questionnaire design. It's been created to help researchers better understand the challenges of collecting survey data, improve knowledge in health and market survey questionnaire and clinical outcome assessment measure design.


EME proof of concept

  Created on Thursday, 11 Apr 2019. Posted in Funding | Guidance

All applications to EME must cite some evidence that the intervention could work, i.e. that there is “proof of concept”. How much prior evidence of potential efficacy is needed will vary with the size of the translational step, the scale of the proposed study and the nature of the intervention. This document looks a examples of proof of concept that are accepted by the EME Funding Committees

Video: Writing About Research Methods

  Created on Monday, 14 Jan 2019. Posted in Guidance

The National Centre for Research methods has published a video, presented by Patrick Brindle, introducing researchers to the basics of how to write about research methods in the social sciences (slides on the website)

HRA and MHRA publish joint statement on seeking and documenting consent using electronic methods (eConsent)

  Created on Tuesday, 02 Oct 2018. Posted in Guidance

The HRA have published a joint statement with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), setting out the legal and ethical requirements for seeking and documenting consent using electronic methods. eConsent is an approach sponsors and researchers are increasingly keen to adopt, and enables potential research participants to be provided with the information they need to make a decision via a tablet, smartphone or digital multimedia.

Writing an effective questionnaire

  Created on Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018. Posted in Guidance

Writing a good questionnaire is harder than it seems, which is why this guide from NHS England is a welcome new addition to their "Bite-Size" series.

Some of the advice may seem basic - for example "avoid using jargon".  But as it progresses, the guide takes us into more interesting territory, covering "cognitive testing", "gratitude bias" and "bipolar" versus "unipolar" scales.  That may sound as though the authors ignored their own advice to avoid using jargon.  But the terms are explained well, within a publication that - as with all Bite Size guides - is clear and concise.

If you need a questionnaire that patients can make sense of, and which will return a set of results that you can make sense of, this is the document to have ready to hand.

“Public engagement: a practical guide” from Sense about Science and NIHR

  Created on Monday, 27 Nov 2017. Posted in Guidance | Public Involvement

The new best practice guide is aimed at helping other researchers involve the public in communicating findings from the earliest stages of their projects and on the most challenging of subjects. It features a five-step process to present research information in a way that is shaped from the outset by people who will use it. The advice given ranges from initial scoping of the subject to planning and user-testing materials to present findings in a clear and accessible way.

New framework for UK health and social care research launched

  Created on Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017. Posted in Guidance

This policy framework sets out 19 principles of good practice in the management and conduct of health and social care research in the UK. 

These principles protect and promote the interests of patients, service users and the public in health and social care research, by describing ethical conduct and proportionate, assurance-based management of health and social care research, so as to support and facilitate high-quality research in the UK that has the confidence of patients, service users and the public.

INVOLVEs draft Guidance about Co-Production in research

  Created on Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017. Posted in Public Involvement | Guidance

This guidance identifies some key principles and features involved in co-producing research. Co-producing research at its simplest means people working in partnership to design, develop and deliver research and knowledge. However Co-producing research is a way of working that requires

  • a change in the power dynamics between researchers, professionals and the public so that there is an equal partnership and joint ownership of key decisions in both the research and the development of knowledge
  • an emphasis on the relationships, new knowledge and outcomes that emerge from the research process.