Types of Research

Clinical Trials *Definition from MRC website

Research studies involving patients, which compare a new or different type of treatment with the best treatment currently available.

No matter how promising a new drug or treatment may appear during tests in a laboratory, it must go through clinical trials before its benefits and risks can really be known.

Trials aim to find out if treatments are safe (what side effects they have), and if they work better than the treatment used currently.

Observational studies

*Definition from MRC website

The researcher observes participants without intervening/ doing something to the participant. 

They are a key part of research as they help to investigate relationships that cannot be tested under randomised controlled experiments, can help provide insight and develop ideas on what is needed for future research and can provide understanding on how things work in clinical practice.

Interviews/ Focus Groups

An interview is a conversation where questions are asked to find out information. The person conducting the interview is usually a professional or researcher who poses questions to the participant, in a series of usually brief questions and answers. 

Interviews can be contrasted with focus groups in which an interviewer questions a group of people and observes the conversation between participants.

Surveys/ Questionnaires

Surveys are more anonymous than interviews and limit respondents to a range of predetermined answer choices. 

Questionnaires are a research tool consisting of a series of questions for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Questionnaires can be thought of as a kind of written interview. They can be carried out face to face, by telephone, computer or post.

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