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Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES)

Every year, the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) asks thousands of research participants to share their experiences of taking part in research.

Through the Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES), the NIHR aims to put participant experience at the heart of research delivery - helping to improve the way research studies are designed and delivered, now and in the future.

2021/22: A remarkable year for research

In the 2021/22 financial year, 25,459 adult participants completed the Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES).

"It was good to be part of something so important. All the staff were very appreciative towards the volunteers."
Adult survey respondent, 2021/22

This year, for the first time, the findings from the Children’s and Young People’s survey were able to be analysed alongside the adult survey with 252 responses.

"The staff have been lovely - so kind. It has made the experience so much better."
Children and young people survey respondent, 2021/22

Key results from the 2021/22 survey include:

  • 92% of adults and 95% of young people felt valued by researchers for taking part in research.
  • 97% of adults and 98% of young people said research staff have always treated them with courtesy and respect.
  • 93% of adults and 92% of young people said they would consider taking part in research again.
  • 95% of adults and 90% of young people felt they received adequate information before they took part in the study.

Read more results in the PRES 2021/22 Executive Summary report.

Despite the continuing pressures on the NHS in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, all 15 local CRNs and their partner organisations actively supported the delivery of this important survey. We would like to say a huge thank you to the research staff, the participants, and to the respondents of the survey for their valued contributions.

For a PDF copy of the full Annual PRES 2021/22 report, please contact the CRN Coordinating Centre.

The children and young people survey

To provide greater insight into how the age of study participants might impact on the research experience, in 2021/22 an analysis of the adult PRES responses against the Children’s and Young People PRES was performed for the first time.

Participants in the Children’s and Young People survey were aged between 0 and 15 years, with three adapted survey versions available depending on age:

  • 0-6 years
  • 7-11 years
  • 12-15 years.

Responses were overwhelmingly positive, praising study teams for their interactions with young participants and staff’s abilities to put families at ease with the research process. However they also identified areas of improvement, particularly around practical considerations for young children when taking part in research studies.

The feedback from young participants will enable the NIHR to continue improving the delivery of research nationally, while providing a benchmark for measuring study performance and experience for future Children’s and Young People surveys.


More information about PRES

What is PRES?

PRES is an annual nationally standardised survey used to collect adults and children’s views and experiences of participating in NIHR supported research. PRES was developed by the NIHR Clinical Research Network to demonstrate to research participants that their contribution is valued, and to help make meaningful improvements to research based on people’s real-life experience. It is the largest survey of its kind, with all 15 local Clinical Research Networks across England supporting it.

Why NIHR conducts PRES

Research is a partnership between the people who volunteer to take part, known as participants, and the researchers. Every year, the NIHR asks thousands of participants to give feedback on their experience to help improve the way research studies are designed and delivered, now and in the future, so that we can positively impact people’s experience of recruitment to, and taking part in, research.

The difference participant feedback makes

As far as possible, we want those who begin studies to be able to complete their research journey and go on to take part in further studies and even promote research participation to their friends and families.

  • Feedback from research participants can help researchers understand both what they are doing well and where there are opportunities to improve.
  • The responses we get to PRES can help shape research far beyond the study someone has taken part in, or the healthcare service they have used.
  • Positive feedback is celebrated and can help motivate more people to get involved in research studies. It also helps researchers know that their work is valued by the people they are trying to help.
  • Research teams are also able to use feedback about what didn’t go well to inform improvement projects. This has led to the introduction of many great new initiatives in research delivery teams across the country.

What NIHR does with the PRES results

Responses to PRES are kept anonymous. Each year, PRES findings are shared back with research teams at the health and care setting (e.g. a hospital, GP surgery, etc.) where you took part in the research. This enables research teams to learn what they are doing well and identify immediate opportunities to make improvements in specific research studies and local research settings.

Each of the 15 local CRNs will also produce a local, regional report. Nationally, NIHR also brings together all of the country’s responses and develops a national-level report. Some of the challenges participants experience simply can’t be dealt with by the research delivery teams alone - they are often issues that have arisen from the research design or even funding requirements. By completing PRES, participants can ensure their experiences are shared with the bodies that influence the whole research system.

How you can take part in PRES

If you are taking part in NIHR-supported health or care research and want to share your experience, speak to a member of your research team to find out how you can give feedback.

Research delivery teams interested in running PRES should contact their local CRN PPIE team or the CRN Coordinating Centre.