Tips for Researchers

There is a government requirement that all clinical research must have public or patient involvement to help direct the research.  It is important to involve PPI groups in your research project. The following ‘best practice’ recommendations can help you conduct a study with embedded public and patient participation:

  • Contact the Clinical Research Office at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, the Research Design Service (RDS) or NIHR’s Centre for Engagement and Dissemination and search data bases for patient groups suitable for your research
  • Plan to talk to at least one patient/PPI group such as SECF and ask for their advice on your research idea and how it may impact on patients. The group may give insights which you might not have considered
  • Your local Research Design Service (RDS) may offer an award to help you gain initial PPI input. Emphasise the role of PPI when writing your proposal
  • Include the costs for PPI input, using NIHR’s Learning for Involvement rates:, for travel expenses, payment for each meeting attendance, and input into your research funding application
  • PPI groups can help develop lay summaries, consent forms, surveys, and patient information sheets, with clinical language explained in plain English for the intended demographic. This will help to get the information right first time
  • Such groups can comment on the methods, the possible impact on patients and relevant concerns to them
  • A lay person, patient, or public representative, on a steering and/or management group can help research to be on schedule and keep to guidelines and protocol
  • Have at least one service user fully involved throughout the research process, preferably backed up by a PPI group such as SECF. Have service user involvement on your project management or steering group and, if appropriate, as co-applicant on your management team
  • A PPI colleague could assist with wider dissemination to the public. Social media could be a good way to disseminate your findings, but costs need to be considered in your proposal