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There are two components to randomisation: the generation of a random sequence, and its implementation, ideally in a way so that those entering participants into a study are not aware of the sequence (concealment of allocation).

    Randomised controlled trial

    An experiment in which two or more interventions, possibly including a control intervention or no intervention, are compared by being randomly allocated to participants. In most trials one intervention is assigned to each individual but sometimes assignment is to defined groups of individuals (for example, in a household) or interventions are assigned within individuals (for example, in different orders or to different parts of the body).


      The area of authority or responsibility of an individual, group, or organisation.

        Reporting bias

        A bias caused by only a subset of all the relevant data being available.


          An online archive of scholarly outputs (e.g., Europe PMC). The collection can include publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and book-sections, technical reports, working papers, monographs, conference presentations, research data, audio and visual materials or any other research content that has some scholarly value.


            A representative is expected to speak on behalf of a larger group of people. If you’ve been asked to get involved in research as a representative of a particular group, you may want to think about how you can be confident that you are representing a wider range of people’s views, rather than just offering your own perspective.


              The term research means different things to different people, but is essentially about finding out new knowledge that could lead to changes to treatments, policies or care. The definition used by the Department of Health is: “The attempt to derive generalisable new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods.”

                Research brief

                A research brief is often written by a commissioner to describe why they want to commission a piece of research, what questions the research should address and sometimes how the research should be carried out. It might include information about when the research needs to be completed and how much money is available.

                  Research governance

                  Research governance is a process aimed at ensuring that research is high quality, safe and ethical. For more information, you can read the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

                    Research grant

                    Research grants are specific amounts of money given to researchers to carry out a particular piece of research. They might amount to millions of pounds for a major study about genetics for example, or a few hundred pounds for a local study about people’s experience of using a particular service. Usually, in order to get research grants, researchers have to write a research proposal and receive a positive peer review.

                      Research methods

                      Research methods are the ways researchers collect and analyse information. So research methods include interviews, questionnaires, diaries, clinical trials, experiments, analysing documents or statistics, and watching people’s behaviour.

                        Research network

                        Research networks aim to bring together people who have an interest in research about a particular condition or group of people. Networks might be national or local, within the NHS or run by charities or other organisations.

                          Research partner

                          The term research partner is used to describe people who get actively involved in research, to the extent that they are seen by their ‘professional’ colleagues as a partner, rather than someone who might be consulted occasionally. Partnership suggests that researchers and service users/carers have a relationship that involves mutual respect and equality.

                            Research proposal

                            This is usually an application form or set of papers that researchers have to complete to say what research they want to do and how they want to do it. The proposal might be addressing a specific research brief and it will also cover the aim of the research, what the research questions are, who will be involved (both as participants and in carrying out the research), the time-scale and the cost.


                              Researchers are the people who do the research. They may do research for a living, and be based in a university, hospital or other institution, and/or they may be a service user or carer.


                                Open calls for researchers to apply for funding for their own topics and questions. These applications are prioritised in terms of NHS or other information need in a process similar to that of the commissioned workstreams. Applications are assessed for scientific quality, feasibility and value for money.

                                  Retrospective study

                                  A study in which the outcomes have occurred before the study commenced. Case-control studies and cohort studies can be retrospective, but randomised controlled trials never are.


                                    An individual with specific knowledge, experience and skills in a field of practice who undertakes an independent review of a grant application, commissioning brief or document for publication. The comments made by this independent ‘external reviewer’ are used to inform the funding decision or the preparation of a written document.


                                      The NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme funds health, public health and social care research to improve the lives of people with health and care needs.


                                        NIHR Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) funds cutting-edge interdisciplinary applied global health research in key areas in low and middle-income countries where a strategic and targeted investment can result in a transformative impact.