How to get started

Your quick guide to the research process

The video below gives you a quick run-through of the main stages to developing your research from initial idea to changing the way patients are treated in the NHS.

Is it research?

One question you might have is - how do I know if my idea is really research? 

In general it's research if the project/study will generate new knowledge where there is no or limited evidence currently; and where the results have the potential to apply to the general population or to people with a particular disease or condition.

If you really want to put your idea to the "research test" then the Health Research Authority (HRA) has an online tool which helps you to decide. You can find it on the HRA website:

The next steps

If it is research then the Research and Innovation department is here to help you to take the next steps to make your research project a reality:

  • Write a protocol
  • Find funding
  • Obtain sponsorship
  • Apply for approval


Getting started

Useful links

Useful links

National Institute for Health and Care Research

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) provides a range of support and tools designed to help you understand what is needed to set up a clinical trial. You can find this information on the NIHR website.

Available support from the NIHR includes:

  • Research Support Service

    The Research Support Service (RSS) provides support to health and social care researchers across England on all aspects of developing and writing a grant application including research design, research methods, identifying funding sources and involving patients and the public. Advice is confidential and free of charge. You can find all of the information online.

Health Research Authority

For a comprehensive guide to planning, developing and delivering a research project the Health Research Authority online toolkits give a good overview of every step.


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