Health research helps us learn more about how our bodies and minds work, why we become ill, and what we can do to stay well.

Its purpose is to improve people’s health and advance our knowledge of conditions and diseases so that we can find new treatments, change the way we deliver care, and prevent illness.

We need research to provide evidence that something does or doesn’t work. Showing that something is not effective or does not work in the way we thought can be as useful as proving it does work.

Health and social care research can help us to:

  • identify people at risk of getting ill and help to prevent illness
  • provide the best advice and treatments for people
  • share knowledge and understanding about different conditions
  • find out what people think about services
  • assess how effective services are
  • improve the environment, health and wellbeing of a local population

Research is different to clinical audit or service evaluation because it attempts to collect new, generalisable knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods, whereas service evaluation and clinical audit focus more on the value and quality of current care.