Getting Started

Getting Started

Research is the systematic investigation of a topic in order to identify new knowledge and draw conclusions. AHP research may explore a variety of topics including:

• clinical practice

• innovative interventions

• service delivery

• patient perspectives

• education and learning

Some research will be undertaken within a quantitative paradigm having hypotheses and objective measures leading to conclusions based on statistical significance and probability. Other research will be undertaken within a qualitative paradigm being more exploratory and subjective leading to conclusions based on common themes or models that are subject to theoretical generalisability.

All good research undertaken in health and health services has one thing in common - a robust, well defined research question. Research questions arise from many sources including clinical practice, a clinical or service delivery problem, a 'light bulb moment' or more mundane gaps in the knowledge already identified in previous research literature.

What do you need in order to undertake research?

• a robust research question

• training in / knowledge of research methods to enable you to choose the right one

• skills in research gained through training and expert ongoing support e.g. from a senior researcher or supervisor

• the approval and permission of your manager and/or academic supervisor if undertaking a research project for a degree • a research proposal • a suitable population from which to draw a sample to research and permission to approach them (or access to documentation or previous data that again, you have permission to access)

• the necessary resources:

- funding

- time

- equipment

- supervision or other expert support

- good will from colleagues, managers, gatekeepers to potential participants

• research ethics approval from the relevant body e.g. NHS, university, other institution

• research governance in place from the appropriate organisation to monitor risk, procedures, time management, any special regulations relating to body tissue, radiation, pharmaceuticals etc

• A sponsor. Usually your employing organisation through whom indemnity is obtained.

• Funding. Everything has a cost from your time, your participants' time and expenses, research equipment to printing your report and photocopying. Keep a look out for grants that become available from time to time.

• Registration: sometimes your institution will require you to register your research project with them in order to process the funding and governance and any potential output such as a patent or other longer term benefit.

• Enthusiasm, patience and 'stickability'

Making a start

If you want further advice and support on research methods training, research project development or research support or just want to ask a question please do not hesitate to get in touch with your CAHPR hub leaders and we will do our best to help.

Dr Kay Cooper

Dr Lyndsay Alexander