This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
  • Participant

    An individual who is studied in a trial, often, but not necessarily, a patient.
  • Participation

    The act of taking part in a research study, for example people being recruited to take part in a clinical trial or another kind of research study, joining in a focus group or completing a questionnaire.
  • Participatory research

    This is a type of research where researchers and people who use services or carers are partners in a research project. The research addresses an issue of importance to service users or carers, who are involved in the design and conduct of the research, and the way the findings are made available. The aim of the research is to improve people’s lives. This isn’t a research method – it’s an approach to research, a philosophy.
  • Patient and public involvement

    Also known as PPI, involvement or public involvement. An active partnership between patients and the public and researchers in the research process, rather than the use of people as ‘subjects’ of research. Patient and public involvement in research is often defined as doing research ‘with’ or ‘by’ people who use services rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. This includes, for example, working with research funders to prioritise research, offering advice as members of a project steering group, commenting on and developing research materials, and undertaking interviews with research participants. When using the term ‘public’ we include patients, potential patients, carers and people who use health and social care services as well as people from organisations that represent people who use services.
  • Patient information leaflet / patient information sheet

    Researchers must provide a patient information leaflet to everyone they invite to take part in a research study, to ensure people can make an informed decision about this. The leaflet explains what taking part will involve and should include details about: why the research is being done, how long it will last, and what methods will be used; the possible; contact details; how the results will be shared with others.
  • Patient Safety Translational Research Centres

    Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs) conduct and support research to investigate ways to improve the safety, quality and effectiveness of the services that the NHS provides to its patients.
  • PDG

    NIHR Programme Development Grants (PDG) support researchers to carry out targeted preparatory work to strengthen an application for future full Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) funding award.
  • Peer interviewing

    Peer interviewing is where people are interviewed by others who have a similar experience to them – their peers. For example, in a project to find out about children’s experiences of after school care, children with experience of using after school care may act as peer interviewers, asking other children about their experience. Some researchers believe that this kind of interviewing enables people to talk more freely about their experience.
  • Peer review

    A reviewing process for checking the quality and importance of reports of research. An article submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal is reviewed by other experts in the area.
  • Perspectives / user perspectives

    A user perspective is often what people with experience of using health or social services are asked to bring when they get involved in research. They are asked to provide ideas, comments and suggestions based on the unique insight they have from their knowledge and experience of life with a health condition. They cannot be representative of everyone who uses a particular service, but they can offer their own perspective, and often that of other people.
  • PGfAR

    NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) funds collaborative, multidisciplinary programmes of applied research to solve health and social care challenges.
  • PHR

    The PHR Programme evaluates interventions taking place outside of the NHS that aim to improve public health.
  • Pilot studies

    Pilot studies are a smaller version of the main study used to test whether the components of the main study can all work together. It is focused on the processes of the main study, for example to ensure that recruitment, randomisation, treatment, and follow-up assessments all run smoothly.
  • Placebo

    An inactive substance or procedure administered to a participant, usually to compare its effects with those of a real drug or other intervention, but sometimes for the psychological benefit of the belief of receiving treatment. Placebos are used in clinical trials to blind people to their treatment allocation. Placebos should be indistinguishable from the active intervention to ensure adequate blinding.
  • Policy Research Programme

    The NIHR Policy Research Programme (PRP) enables evidence informed policy making in health and social care.
  • Policy Research Units

    Policy Research Units (PRUs) are 15 university-based research groups that undertake research to inform government and arms-length bodies making policy decisions about health and social care.
  • Power

    The probability of rejecting the null hypothesis when a specific alternative hypothesis is true. In clinical trials, power is the probability that a trial will detect, as statistically significant, an intervention effect of a specified size. Ideally, we want a test to have high power.
  • PPI

    Patient and Public Involvement. In research, PPI takes various forms, from involvement of public contributors in priority setting, representation on committees, and as reviewers. NIHR appoint public board and panel members via open competition.
  • Pragmatic trial

    A trial that aims to test a treatment policy in a 'real life' situation, when many people may not receive all of the treatment, and may use other treatments as well.
  • Preclinical study

    Research using animals to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful. Preclinical studies take place before any testing in humans is done.
  • Primary outcome

    The outcome of greatest importance.
  • Primary research

    Experimental studies generating new data (cf. secondary research, which analyses existing data).
  • Principal investigator

    The principal investigator (PI) may be the chief investigator, or where the research is taking place across than one site, the principal investigator is the person at each site who is responsible for the day to day running of the research project.
  • Prioritisation

    Rigorously examining potential topics for research to identify their importance and where the need for new evidence is greatest.
  • Probability

    The chance or risk of something happening.
  • Programme Development Grants

    NIHR Programme Development Grants (PDG) support researchers to carry out targeted preparatory work to strengthen an application for future full Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) funding award.
  • Programme Grants for Applied Research

    NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) funds collaborative, multidisciplinary programmes of applied research to solve health and social care challenges.
  • Protocol

    The plan or set of steps to be followed in a study.
  • PRP

    The NIHR Policy Research Programme (PRP) enables evidence informed policy making in health and social care.
  • PRUs

    NIHR Policy Research Units (PRUs) undertake research to inform government and arms-length bodies making policy decisions about health and social care. The units create a critical mass of experts for research in priority areas for health and social care policy.
  • PSTRCs

    Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs) conduct and support research to investigate ways to improve the safety, quality and effectiveness of the services that the NHS provides to its patients.
  • Public contributor

    Public contributor is an umbrella term used to describe members of the public who take part in patient and public involvement activities. We use the definition of 'public' to include patients, potential patients, carers and people who use health and social care services as well as people from organisations that represent people who use services.
  • Public health research

    Public health is concerned with promoting good health, preventing disease and protecting people from hazards, rather than treating illnesses. It covers topics like the control of infectious diseases, vaccinations, and helping people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Public health research involves finding out new knowledge (or testing out existing ideas) to do with public health – so it might address questions about the best ways to help people stop smoking or how flu spreads.