Why research matters

What is research?

Research is about finding out new knowledge that could lead to changes in treatments, policies or care.  There are many different types of research from studies in a scientific laboratory to those that observe and examine people with different conditions or develop new treatments. Research might be concerned with preventing disease and promoting good health or finding out people's experience of different services and support in the community.

The people who carry out research will be doctors, healthcare professionals, psychologists, sociologists or researchers, working in a University or other health or social care organisation.  In most research teams there will be service users, carers, patients or members of the public involved.

Why do we need research?

We need research to provide evidence that something works.  It is equally important to show that something is not effective or does not work in the way we thought it should.

Health and social care research can help us to:

  • identify people at risk of getting ill and help to prevent illness
  • provide the best advice and treatments for people
  • share knowledge and understanding about different conditions
  • find out what people think about services
  • assess how effective services are
  • improve the environment, health and wellbeing of a local population



Partnerships for improving patient access to NHS research - a presentation by Simon Denegri and William van't Hoff

  • Why patient and public involvement matters to industry
  • What does access to NHS research mean to you?

Mother, child and doctor

Patient Research Experience

In order to understand the experience of patients taking part in clinical research, over the last three years the NIHR Clinical Research Network has worked on ways to collect and understand patient feedback. During 2017/18 a patient survey was carried out by our Local Clinical Research Networks across England and core feedback was collated and analysed nationally.

Find out more