Getting involved in health research 

Research isn't just for researchers. Patients and the public can be involved, too. New research can't lead to reliable findings unless the right patients agree to take part.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are a type of health research that compare one treatment with another.

If you take part in a clinical trial, you may be one of the first people to benefit from a new treatment. However, it may turn out to be no better, or worse, than the standard treatment.

Read more about joining a trial.

Other health research

The public can also get involved in other types of health research. For some types of research, people are asked whether researchers may use personal information, in confidence, from their health records.

For other types of research, it isn't necessary for the researchers to know who the participants are, and they use data from patient information that's been made anonymous.

An organisation called INVOLVE suggests ways people can contribute to research without taking part in a trial. When the public is involved in the way research is commissioned and managed, it's more likely to produce results that can improve health and social care practice.

The James Lind Alliance

The James Lind Alliance is an organisation that aims to identify and prioritise unanswered questions that patients and clinicians agree are most important.

This helps ensure that those who fund health research are aware of what matters to patients and clinicians.

Page last reviewed: 05/01/2014

Next review due: 05/01/2017