Is my project research?

The first question to ask when setting up a study is: ‘Is it research?’

The Health Research Authority (HRA) have issued guidance on the categorising of research, clinical audit and service evaluation.


Research – is designed and conducted to generate new knowledge and should follow the systems for approval of NHS Research.  Research requires R&D and ethical approval before you can start approaching patients. Research is to find out what you should be doing.

Audit – is designed to answer the question “Does this service reach a predetermined standard?”

Service evaluation – is designed to answer the question “What standard does this service achieve?”


If on reviewing the information above you are still not sure how to categorise your project please use the HRA decision tool, link below;

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