Not all projects undertaken in the NHS are research. Projects
not classed as research are not managed as research within the
NHS. The key discriminants are:
1. Intent - The primary aim of research
is to derive generalizable new knowledge, whereas the aim of audit
and service evaluation projects is to measure standards of care.
Research is to find out what you should be doing; audit is to find
out if you are doing planned activity and assesses whether it is
working. Some projects may have more than one intent, in which case
a judgment will need to be made on the primary aim of the
2. Treatment/service - Neither audit nor
service evaluation uses an intervention without a firm basis of
support in the clinical or health community.
3. Allocation - Neither audit nor service
evaluation allocate treatment or service by protocol. It is a joint
decision by the clinician and patient.
4. Randomisation - If randomization is
used, it is research.
To find out if your project is classed as research, click the
link to the HRA decision making tool to the right.
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham