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Is it research?

Last updated: 24/10/2023

Research, audit and service evaluation have different levels and routes of approval before they can start. Please read on for broad definitions of each, for contact details, and for next steps.

If you're  not sure whether your  project is research, audit or service evaluation, use the following decision tool, published by the Health Research Authority (HRA): https://www.hra-decisiontools.org.uk/research/

Research is designed and conducted to create new knowledge. If this research is generalisable (i.e. can be applied beyond UHBW), then it falls under the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research, and you need to follow the systems of approval for NHS Research.

Please visit the UHBW Research and Development page to find out what you need to do before you start your research. If you would like to apply for a grant, visit these pages for more preliminary information and contact details of our grants team. 

Audit is designed to answer the question "Does this service reach a predetermined standard?". If you wish to carry out an audit, please visit the UHBW Clinical Audit pages for further information. You will find details of who to contact on these pages.   

Service evaluation is designed to answer the question "What standard does this service achieve?". Find out more information about service evaluation.

Please contact the service lead or head of department for the service you wish to evaluate before starting to plan your project. They will be able to advise you whether any work in this area is already ongoing or has recently been completed. There is no standardised process to seek permission to carry out service evaluation at UHBW. You may wish to seek advice or input from the Improvement team, and UHBW staff can find resources on the staff intranet.

If you are planning a new service, or changing the way you provide an existing service, you may be required by law to involve patients (service users) in this process, in which case the Patient Experience Team can advise you. You can find more information on the Patient experience and involvement pages. The resources on the Quality Improvement pages may also be useful.