What if it's a different kind of study?
Where your project falls outside the formal definition of 'R'esearch, it still requires appropriate approval before participants are recruited and/or data is collected.
Clinical Audit is directly related to improving services against a standard that has already been set. Audits are essentially about comparing what should be happening with what has actually happened. It is a way to find out if care is being provided in line with standards and lets care providers and patients know where their service is doing well, and where there could be improvements.
All audits undertaken at ELFT are aligned to Trust and directorate assurance priorities, and coordinated by the Trust’s Quality assurance team. We do not encourage or support individuals to undertake isolated audits, as our audit programme is linked to change planning processes in each directorate which are tracked and monitored. For any queries about audit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Quality Improvement (QI)
Quality Improvement (QI) goes beyond traditional management, target setting and policy making. QI methodology is best applied when tackling complex adaptive problems – where the problem isn’t completely understood and where the answer isn’t known – for example, how to reduce frequency of violence on inpatient mental health wards. QI utilises the subject matter expertise of people closest to the issue – staff and service users – to identify potential solutions and test them.
We encourage all staff to be involved in improving the way their team works, through quality improvement. All QI work at ELFT takes place in teams, so we do not support individuals to undertake QI work on their own. There is a process for formal authorisation of QI projects within each directorate – every project is approved by the directorate’s QI forum and has a named project sponsor who is accountable for the work. To find out more about which projects are going on in your directorate/team, and who to contact for support, please visit https://qi.elft.nhs.uk
3. Service Evaluation
Service Evaluation is defined as study in which research procedures are used in a systematic way to judge the quality or worth of a service or intervention, providing evidence that can be used to improve it. An evaluaiton provides practical information to help decide whether a development or service should be continued or not. Evaluation also involves making judgements about the value of what is being evaluated. Service evaluations must be assessed for compliance with regulatory and ethical standards by the Trust’s Governance and Ethics Committee for Studies and Evaluations (GECSE). For these projects, investigators should complete a template Proposal for a Service Evaluation and submit it to email@example.com
4. Literature Review
A Literature Review is a summary of previous research on a topic. The literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, and other sources relevant to a particular area of research or interest. Within the review the author provides a description, summary and critical evaluation of each source, i.e. the strengths and weaknesses. The literature review may also identify gaps or controversies in the literature and topics needing further research.
As a literature review does not contain any data from ELFT sources, it does not require any governance approval from the Trust. If it is linked to a case study, please follow guidance below.
5. Case Study/Review
A Case Study is an in-depth analysis and systematic description of one patient or group of similar patients to promote a detailed understanding of their circumstances. The illustrative 'grand round', 'case report' and 'case series' have a long tradition in clinical practice and research. Presenting detailed critiques, typically of one or more patients, aims to provide insights into aspects of the clinical case and, in doing so, illustrate broader lessons that may be learnt.
Case reports are usually anonymised and there are rarely ethical issues to be considered as long as consent is obtained. However, some journals may require evidence of approval prior to publication. Best practice in writing up a case study is described in a 2011 editorial by Lowman & Kilburg in Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research.
Case Studies which conform to the Trust’s standards (detailed in the Case Study Governance template) do not normally require assessment. However, where the author (or student supervisor) has question about the appropriateness of a proposal and specifically if an exception to Trust standard is being sought, the Case Study Governance template should be completed and submitted to the Trust’s Governance and Ethics Committee for Studies and Evaluations (GECSE) at firstname.lastname@example.org