Social care research

If you would like to carry out some research with our social care services, staff or service users, we will need to approve you proposal. We have a Research Governance Framework (RGF) based on the Department of Health's RGF for health and social care. 

You will need to follow the Research Governance Approval Process and have an ethical, management and methodological approval for your research. 

Research Governance Framework 

Our RGF ensures that research is of a high quality and that the rights of any research participants are appropriately protected.

In particular, our Framework recommends we maintain records and publicise all research projects being undertaken

  • provide a clear structure to assess all research projects before granting access to service users, carers and staff or any information relating to them
  • ensure that there is an appropriate organisation assuming responsibility for the management of the project
  • ensure that written agreements are made between us and any parties involved in the research project

You need to consider the RGF if you are undertaking any project that involves contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults, or with data about them.

Research definition

For the purposes of research governance, research can be defined as “the attempt to derive new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods”.

The methods may include questionnaires, interviews, surveys, observation etc, and may involve our staff, service users and carers. This definition includes studies that aim to generate hypotheses as well as studies that aim to test them.

The following are not considered research for RGF purposes:

  • quality of service evaluations
  • routine training course evaluations
  • any small research project involving only colleagues within your team

Consultations seeking to identify the need for, or quality of  a service.

However, consultations involving vulnerable service users and their carers, family and friends might be considered research for the purposes of research governance.

Completing & submitting your initial research enquiry

Before completing a full project plan you will need to send us some brief details of your research idea, including:

  • name
  • organisation
  • telephone number
  • email
  • what you are researching
  • who the subject of your research is
  • how you propose to complete the research
  • when you are wanting to do the research
  • if you already have approval of the methods you will use
  • if you have already got ethical approval
  • who has given you approval

We’ll consider your proposal and tell you if we agree to your research idea in principle. If we agree, you’ll need to fill in the RGF Project Plan form. If we’re not able to agree, we’ll contact you to explain why and give further guidance.

When you’ve completed the form, email it to us and keep a copy along with any existing ethics and other approvals and correspondence.

Approval process

We'll aim to review your project plan within five working days of receipt, and decide on the risk level of your proposal. If your proposal is:

  • low risk, we'll either approve it (with or without conditions) or reject it
  • medium or high risk, your application will be reviewed by our Ethics Panel. The Ethics Panel will either approve it (with or without conditions) or reject it.

If we approve your proposal with conditions, you'll need to meet the conditions and resubmit your plans for approval. If we reject your proposal, we'll contact you to explain why.

Once we’ve approved your proposal, we'll submit it to the relevant service areas for approval. If the service approves your plan, your research project will be registered locally.

Contact Practice, Safeguarding and DoLS Team

Level 9
East Wing
S1 4PL

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