Members of the public are getting involved and fulfilling crucial roles throughout the whole research process.

There are many different kinds of health and social care research taking place in the UK and worldwide. Broadly, health research aims to find out more about health issues such as causes of ill health or the effects of new treatment. Social care research is about social care needs such as everyday support for disabled people, vulnerable children and older people.

We have produced a Public Information Pack (PIP) booklet for people who would like to find out more about getting involved – please contact us if you would like a copy.

You can find out more about people’s personal stories and experiences of being involved in research and by viewing this series of videos from

We have also created a two-minute animation, This is my story, based on the true story of a young man, Tom, who was diagnosed with an illness and through this became involved in research.

If you decide that you would like to get involved in research these are some of the things that you might be asked to do:

  • help select research that is important and relevant
  • help researchers design their projects
  • help develop understandable information sheets for people taking part in research
  • join a research management or advisory group
  • train to carry out some of the research (for example interviews)
  • help interpret the results of the research
  • help make sure the research is reported in understandable ways
  • help make sure good research is heard about.

People in Research is a website that advertises opportunities for members of the public to get involved in research – you can sign up to receive emails when new ones are added.

Some of the ways that members of the public make a difference to health and social care research are by:

  • making sure that researchers ask the right questions and in a way that the public understand
  • keeping the research on track so that it stays relevant
  • making sure the people being researched are approached in the right way
  • improving the quality of the research by adding another point of view to the design and conduct.

Do you have ideas for research?

Suggest a topic at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Evaluation, Trials and Studies programme or tell the NIHR Horizon Scanning Centre about a new health technology that is not yet available to patients.