By Helen Hayes
INVOLVE has been leading on work with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programmes, the Research Design Service (RDS) and others to review plain English summaries in NIHR funding applications. The final stages of this work are now complete and from 14 May 2014 a good quality plain English summary, submitted as part of the NIHR standard application form, will be a requirement of NIHR funding.
The NIHR is committed to making sure that each funded research study has a clear and concise plain English summary. It is important that this information is easy to read and understand and the NIHR will be encouraging researchers to write better plain English summaries.
It is a clear, easy to read summary that is as jargon free as possible. It provides an overview of the whole of the research study that readers can understand the first time they read it.
A plain English summary is used in the following ways:
If it is felt that a plain English summary is not clear and of a good quality then the researchers may be required to amend the summary prior to final funding approval.
A good quality summary helps:
When writing a summary consider including the following information where appropriate:
There are a few simple rules for writing in plain English:
The summary will be assessed by NIHR reviewers and board and panel members who will comment on the summary as part of the review process. If it is not considered to be of a good quality then the researchers will be advised through the current feedback processes.
For examples and tips visit the NIHR ‘make it clear’ web page to find out more: www.involve.nihr.ac.uk/makeitclear
For further support and advice on writing a plain English summary, please contact your local NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) where applicable: www.rds.nihr.ac.uk/
Follow us on Twitter @OfficialNIHR using #NIHRmakeitclear
“If the plain English summary is well written, somehow the whole application seems easier to assess. It should provide a clear idea of what the research is about.”
Contact: Helen Hayes, INVOLVE Coordinating Centre Email: firstname.lastname@example.org