Research, Service Evaluations or Staff Surveys

There is often confusion around the distinction and definition of the various projects and studies that need to be reviewed by the R&D Office, Governance Team.



Research is often considered to involve the generation of "generalisable new knowledge", that is, adding to the body of literature that exists to provide further evidence around the effects of the intervention under scrutiny.



Service Evaluation is looking at existing service to ensure they are meeting the expected standards; standards that have been generated from the research that has come before the evaluation project.



Staff surveys are often designed to illicit a snapshot of views or opinions from all staff or a sub-set of staff groups, such as the annual staff survey.  It is unlikely that the findings will be of any use outside of the trust and would certainly not be set up to answer complex questions about interventions or queries about service outcome measures.



Clinical Audit is the continual evaluation and measurement by health professionals of their work to improve the standards they achieve.

Does your project involve direct patient or staff contact, or are you planning to publish it?  If the answer is YES, please contact us to discuss further.  Otherwise you will be required to complete an audit log, which can be found on the Clinical Audit website.  The completed form should be submitted to the Clinical Audit team and if you could send us a copy for information, it would be appreciated. 

However, the Research Governance Team does not provide advice on designing and conducting audits.  If you are planning on undertaking an audit project, it is important that you contact the Clinical Audit team.



This link to the Defining Research Leaflet; provides more insight into the differences between Research and Service Evaluation as well as some guidance around audit.

The following link to the Issues and Arguments - Differentiating Research provides guidance on differentiating Research, Service Evaluation and Audit.

These links provide additional information on deciding whether a project is audit as opposed to Service Evaluation or Research.

If you are unsure where your project falls, contact the Research Governance Team, at the earliest opportunity for further advice and guidance.  The R&D Managers can be contacted on 03002 44 5462 or 03002 44 5463.