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What is Health Research?

The National Institute for Health Research and University of Leeds via FutureLearn


Learn about health research and explore opportunities to get involved.

Have you ever wondered how doctors and nurses know what treatment or care to give?

It’s only through health research that healthcare professionals find new and better ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. Today’s research is tomorrow’s treatment.

On this course, you will learn how health research happens, why it matters and what to expect if you take part. You will also hear stories from people who have taken part in research; why they volunteered and the difference it made.

If you’re interested in taking part in health research or discovering how to get involved in supporting health research, this course will help to answer your questions before you make the decision.


  • What is the value of health research?
    • Welcome
    • What is research?
    • Different types of research
    • Why do people get involved in health research?
    • Summary
  • How can you make an informed decision about taking part?
    • About Week 2
    • What can you expect?
    • How are people kept safe and informed during health research?
    • Summary
  • Being part of research
    • About Week 3
    • Why health research is exciting
    • How can you contribute?
    • Summary

Taught by

Ellie Dunn


4.9 rating, based on 17 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 43 ratings

Start your review of What is Health Research?

  • Louise Deborah Marsh
    This was an excellent introduction to Health Research, it gave good over view of several standpoints but particularly, the general public and potential volunteers for research.

    I found it very helpful in my new role as Research Associate, coming in to this as a practitioner in health and social care, not as an academic.

    Well worth doing, easy to follow, manageable modules to work through as time and opportunity permitted. Would encourage any one who is interested in research or who has a diagnosis and wants to learn more about their condition and how research provides many benefits both for the now and the future.
  • Anonymous
    Very informative, easy to understand and positive course. Broken down into good sized chapters and with extra reading/articles to read if wanted to. It made me feel that I now want to look at research in my area and take part. I would advise this is a must for anyone who is new to the health service and and anyone who is unsure about taking part in research.
  • Cristina
    This course is wonderful! I really enjoyed it! I learned the importance of health research, how to get involved, many opportunities to help others
  • Anonymous
    Comprehensive, well-explained, and relevant course for anyone wanting to grasp basic idea of research in the UK.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Very apprehensive at first as it is a very long time since I was in education, however the first week was a little bit slow but thoroughly enjoyed the second and third weeks . So much so I have enrolled on my next learning. A good way to gain insight into research in bite sixed pieces.
  • Anonymous
    This is an informative course if you do not know anything about Health Research, and being a Research Participant. I have had experience in health research, but did learn some new things, and it was a helpful refresher and update.
  • Anonymous
    I'm very new to research and I thought that i have some knowledge about research, but after the course i just realise that now i understand what research means.
    Great course, Thank you so much.
  • Anonymous
    It was very simple and easy to understand. Using different type of learning resources like audio, pictures was very useful to me. The course was very informative and I am interested on Patient health research ambassador. xx
  • Anonymous
    This was an interesting, informative and engaging course, where the emphasis is actually on helping the learner to learn something that interests them rather than merely pass a test
  • Anonymous
    Very good introduction to Health research. Lots of signposting to useful online resources/websites and a good mix of video content, question and answers and interactive pages.

    Helpful to read contributions and thoughts from other participants.

    Easy to navigate the course.
  • Anonymous
    Helpful course to gain understanding of what health research and why it is important as well as how to become involve. Some useful tips to take away for those who want to consider carrying out health research as well as how to get involved.
  • Anonymous
    Great course! Good for beginners curious to learn about health research. Enjoyed especially learning about inside processes and applications to contextual situations, as well as the latest health research discoveries in the NHS.
  • Anonymous
    Es un buen curso, es de fácil acceso, contiene aspectos esenciales, temas fáciles de entender y muy concretos, eso permite una enseñanza amplia pero sencilla y no es tedioso.
  • Anonymous
    Es un buen curso, es de fácil acceso, contiene aspectos esenciales, temas fáciles de entender y muy concretos, eso permite una enseñanza amplia pero sencilla y no es tedioso.
  • Christopher Brookes

    Christopher Brookes completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Easy to understand introduction to health research. Well moderated. First week slow, but useful grounding. Weeks 2 and 3 felt better and more engaging.
  • Kenneth Andrew Warren
    A very interesting course for both a revision of previous knowledge and as a newcomer to the subject. Well worth the effort.
  • Andy Warren
    A great introduction to a fascinating area of interest. Looking forward to future additional courses

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