Research FAQs

In this section

In This Section

Am I doing audit or research?

  • Audit is a project that seeks to measure existing practice against evidence-based standards;
  • A project is service evaluation if it seeks to establish existing practice or the views of users and staff, where the findings may not be universally applicable;
  • A project is research if it seeks to establish new knowledge and its findings may be generalised.

Getting to grips with the research process PDF

Research in our practice – a requirement not an option PDF

Research, audit and CPD: Are they compatible? (Part one) PDF

Research, audit and CPD: Are they compatible? (Part two) PDF

Assessing the effectiveness of new technologies PDF


Why do I need to write a research proposal?

  • To act as a ‘map’ to guide your research;
  • To ensure that you have a researchable question and appropriate methodology to address that question;
  • A statement of the purpose and plan of the research project;
  • Details how the study is to be carried out;
  • Incorporates any practical and ethical issues which need to be addressed;
  • To ensure that you have taken account of the resource requirements to undertake your research;
  • Accountability… funding… governance…
  • To inform other stakeholders of your intentions.

Writing a research proposal (Slide show presentation which includes audio, click audio icon to hear the sounds.) PPT

Needle in a haystack? Effective literature searching for research PDF

How to critique a scientific article PDF

Critiquing a research article PDF

What makes a good research proposal?

  • Sticking to the ‘rules’ e.g. guidelines for presentation, etc;
  • Importance of the research/justification;
  • Demonstrated ability to do the work;
  • Robustness of the research methods;
  • Quality of presentation – typos/formatting, etc;
  • Innovation;
  • Well organised proposal that is simple and logical;
  • Research team have evidence of a good track record;
  • The budget is reasonable, believable and justified, with rational arguments for including consumables, equipment and other items.

What research methodology should I use?

Whatever the design you adopt, you will need to have a clear, well argued rationale for choosing this approach with reference to relevant research texts or previous research.

  • The research question you formulate will lead to the appropriate research method. If you are asking in your questions about patient experiences, feelings perceptions, etc, you are more than likely going to need to use a qualitative research design, so you should look at all the qualitative approaches and choose the most appropriate to answer the question. If your research question focuses on defining changes in measurable outcomes, such as treatment accuracy, reject rates, or sensitivity/specificity of an imaging modality, this will require a quantitative method and, again, you should consider the range of experimental and quasi-experimental designs and choose the most appropriate for your question and your study population;
  • Will your subjects be randomised, if not, explain why or limitations;
  • If your work is a qualitative study, what sampling approach are you using and why?
  • What are the inclusion/exclusion criteria for your subjects?
  • How will your subjects be referred?
  • How will you deal with cases that don’t conform to the prescribed intervention or protocol?
  • Where you can, support your approach with evidence from the literature?

Qualitative research design and approaches in radiography PDF

How will I analyse the data?

  • It is vital that you consider at the outset what type of analysis you would like to undertake; failure to do so could mean you record the data in an inappropriate form;
  • For qualitative studies, describe the method of analysis and make sure it fits with any philosophical perspectives. There are a range of qualitative analysis approaches including content analysis, framework analysis and analysis based on the Grounded Theory approach. You may want to consider each of these and choose the most appropriate for the study question;
  • For quantitative studies, you need to think about the type of data you will be collecting, specifically the format will it be dichotomous data (ie, yes or no answers) or will it be on a scale (such as weight, accuracy). The type of data will influence how you can present the results graphically or analyse the results in a statistical way;
  • Hint: Try analysing some data in the expected form, set up a database so you are clear how you need the data to be recorded, and try a statistical test, have you got the right level of data?


When do I require ethical approval?

  • You need to consider two factors…
    1. The ethical implications of your research – ie, how will it impact on your participants?
    2. The processes of research governance and ethical approval that you need to comply with – ie, which committees do you need to go through?
  • What might be the ethical implications of your study?
  • How will you protect participants' confidentiality?
  • Who will benefit from your study?
  • Will any of your subjects suffer any detriment because of inclusion or exclusion in your study?
  • Consider inequality between researcher and participant, will potential participants perceive pressure to participate?
  • Consider unanticipated consequences of the results, they may be politically sensitive;
  • A research project requires ethical approval if it takes place on NHS property or uses NHS facilities or involves;
  1. Patients, users, relatives or carers;
  2. Data of past or present patients;
  3. Organs or other bodily materials of past and present patients;
  4. Foetal material and IVF;
  5. The recently dead;
  6. NHS staff recruited by virtue of their professional role.

It's a matter of consent pages PDF

A simple guide to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in relation to research PDF


What are Ethics Committees looking for?

A duty of care:

  • How are your participants recruited?
  • How will you assure the safety of participants?
  • Is your design culturally sensitive?
  • Are there opportunities for equality in recruitment?
  • Confidentiality, anonymity;
  • Data protection;
  • User Involvement? This is crucial and it is worth considering user perspectives in the design stage, as well as having user representation on the project team.

For more information go to the NRES website.

The National Research Ethics Service works with colleagues in the UK to maintain a UK-wide system of ethical review that protects the safety, dignity and well being of research participants, whilst facilitating and promoting ethical research within the NHS.


What should I consider when app​lying for funding?

  • Value for money – can your project produce results efficiently?
  • Is the research topical and relevant within the current NHS/social care environment – political context? Does it fit with national research priorities? Mention the research priorities that fit with your project;
  • Is it designed well?
  • Is there a potential for follow-on projects?
  • What impact will the research have? Does it have the potential to change practice?
  • Think about mentioning professional research priorities. The CoR have a list of current research priorities, look at these and identify how your study fits with those listed.

Research Priorities for the Profession PDF

  • Also consider DoH research priorities, how does your proposed study fit with these national priorities?

Go to Finding Funding pages.


Can I apply for the College of Radiographers Research Awards?

Yes. The CoR research group research award assessment committee will evaluate your application. The narrative should demonstrate a command of the literature relevant to the project and provide detailed information about the procedures to be used to accomplish the project's goals. Technical information may be provided in appendices, as necessary.

  • If I receive CoR Research Award funding, may I also accept money from other sources? Yes. Applicants are encouraged to seek other financial support. We do ask that you tell us about proposals to other funding sources so we understand the project's financial picture;
  • My application for a CoR Research Award was unsuccessful. Is there anything I may do to increase my chances for success next time? You may request copies of the comments by evaluators. A revised application should take into consideration the issues they raised.

Go to the CoRIPS research awards page.

What do I do with my research once its finished?

  • Publish and present your findings in relevant journals and at scientific meetings to add to the body of knowledge of the profession.

Writing for publication PDF

Contributing to research: the basic elements of a scientific manual PDF

Reviewing articles for peer review journals PDF

Writing in education PDF

Is an academic career for you? PDF

Leadership in research PDF

Guest Editorial on becoming and being a professor by Peter Hogg PDF

Modernisation and healthcare careers - help or hindrance? PDF

Leadership in the development of the radiographic profession PDF

Reviewing articles for peer review journals PDF