Patient and public involvement (PPI) in research has become increasingly important over the past 10-15 years as we recognise and appreciate that patients and carers are the end users of health services research. PPI has the potential to improve the relevance and quality of scientific clinical research. PPI is now a necessary and indeed a critical component of all aspects of the research process including development of the research hypothesis, a mandatory requirement in grant applications, monitoring of research activities- recruitment and follow up, data collection, dissemination of research findings and implementation of those findings into clinical practice. There is an ethical and moral conceptualisation for involving service users in research in respecting patients autonomy, enhancing beneficence, and non-maleficence, and observing justice in all encounters including meaningful research participatory relationships (Parekh & Ali 2015; Beauchamp &, Childress 2001 For those working in the clinical arena and are often involved in translational research bringing research outcomes into practical benefits for patients, PPI is not a new phenomenon. For years many have probably had informal PPI in their research programmes. However this has now become more streamlined; for example it is customary for many Funders to ask formally during the grant application process for an explicit statement about how projects can impact on health outcomes within a time frame after project completion and the explicit role of PPI within the research. Indeed funding bodies often involve PPI members in the initial grant evaluation process and funding decisions.
Resources for the mature researcher
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Fantastic, you’ve worked up you research proposal and the study protocol is defined to the smallest of detail. One hurdle remains.. the ethics application! This application, though not the most exciting part of your research journey is a vitally important exercise and, is essential. With more of us contemplating research it is important to be more aware of the processes involved. The aim of this guide is to give an overview of the research application process for those who may be embarking on or thinking of going into research. For those of you who have already started, a short paragraph is dedicated to the process of getting an amendment to your study protocol.