Health and Care Research Unit

Established in 1966, the Health and Care Research Unit (HCRU) is one of the UK's leading health services research groups.

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Research

The Health Care Research Unit (formerly the Medical Care Research Unit) has been conducting high-quality health services research for over 50 years.

Our aim is to carry out research that influences health care, social care and third sector practice and policy for the benefit of service users and the public. We develop and evaluate services and technologies to measure the impact on user outcomes, service effectiveness and the wider social and economic effects.

Our aim is to help improve people’s health through high-quality research.

HCRU staff support ScHARR Postgraduate Taught Programmes and Postgraduate Research Students undertaking PhD studies.

HCRU Director


Research themes

Using qualitative research with RCTs/process evaluations (theme lead Professor Alicia O'Cathain)

 HighCALs research programme

A programme to develop and evaluate a complex intervention to improve nutritional management for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Find out more about the project here.

STOP-OHSS (Shaping and Trialling Outpatient Protocols for Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome)

A feasibility study and randomised controlled trial, with internal pilot, to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of earlier active management of OHSS. We lead the qualitative research. Find out more about the project here.

ACTiF

Development and evaluation of an intervention to support Adherence to treatment in adults with Cystic Fibrosis (ACtiF). Find out more about the project here.

Objectives

  1. To embed adherence measurement in routine Cystic Fibrosis care by (i) building the IT infrastructure to capture adherence data from nebulisers and dry powders (ii) developing a web-portal ‘CF Healthhub’ to display adherence data to people with Cystic Fibrosis (PWCF) and clinicians, and (iii) co-producing the web-portal interface with patients and clinicians to facilitate maximum utility.
  2. To develop a Behaviour Change Intervention (BCI) that uses feedback of measured adherence data, linked to a range of evidence based interventions including Problem Solving and Implementation Plans to increase adherence.
  3. To test the cost effectiveness of the BCI by (i) exploring its feasibility and acceptability in a mixed methods study, (ii) testing its efficacy in an RCT of 550 patients in 12 CF Units, (iii) understanding its implementation in practice using a process evaluation, and (iv) modelling its cost effectiveness.

Team

  • Dr Martin Wildman
  • Professor Alicia O'Cathain
  • Mr John Ainsworth
  • Professor Madelynne Arden
  • Mr Daniel Beever
  • Professor Judy Bradley
  • Professor Iain Buchan
  • Professor Stuart Elborn
  • Professor Rachel Elliot
  • Dr Daniel Hind
  • Ms Marlene Hutchings
  • Professor Susan Michie
  • Professor Mohammed A Mohammed
  • Professor Jon Nicholl
  • Dr Paul Tappenden
  • Professor Stephen Walters
  • Mr Robert Rathbone
  • Susan Kirkpatrick

Funding

NIHR Applied Research Programme Grant £2M.

Timing

Start date March 2015, for 5 years.

Contact

For more information, please contact Dr Martin Wildman on martin.wildman@sth.nhs.uk.

Download the ACtiF Pilot Protocol (PDF, 2.1MB)

QUART

Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research (The QUART study). Find out more about the project here.

Team

  • A O’Cathain School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield
  • KJ Thomas ScHARR, University of Sheffield
  • SJ Drabble ScHARR, University of Sheffield
  • A Rudolph ScHARR, University of Sheffield
  • J Hewison Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds

Funding

MRC Methodology Research Panel

Summary

Background: Researchers often undertake qualitative research with randomised controlled trials of health interventions, particularly when evaluating the effectiveness of complex interventions.

Aims: To systematically explore how qualitative research is being used with trials and identify ways of maximising its value to the trial endeavour of providing evidence of effectiveness of health interventions.

Design: A sequential mixed methods study with four components.

Methods: 1. Database search of peer-reviewed journals between January 2008 and September 2010 for articles reporting the qualitative research undertaken with specific trials. 2. Systematic search of database of registered trials to identify studies combining qualitative research and trials. 3. Survey of 200 lead investigators of trials with no apparent qualitative research. 4. Semi-structured telephone interviews with 18 researchers purposively sampled from the first three methods.

Results: Qualitative research was undertaken with at least 12% of trials. A large number of articles reporting qualitative research undertaken with trials (n=296) were published between 2008 and 2010. 28% (82/296) of articles reported qualitative research undertaken at the pre-trial stage. The articles focused on 22 aspects of the trial within 5 broad categories. Some articles focused on more than one aspect of the trial, totalling 356 examples. The qualitative research focused on the intervention being trialled (71%, 254/356); the design, process and conduct of the trial (15%, 54/356); the outcomes of the trial (1%, 5/356); the measures used in the trial (3%, 10/356); and the target condition for the trial (9%, 33/356). The potential value of the qualitative research to the trial endeavour included improving the external validity of trials and facilitating interpretation of trial findings. This value could be maximised by using qualitative research more at the pre-trial stage and reporting findings with explicit attention to the implications for the trial endeavour. During interviews, three models of study were identified: qualitative research as peripheral to the trial, qualitative research as ‘add-on’ to the trial, and a study with qualitative research and trial as essential components, with the latter model offering more opportunity to maximise the value of the qualitative research. Interviewees valued the use of qualitative research with trials and identified team structures and wider structural issues within health research as barriers to maximising the value of qualitative research.

Conclusion: A large number of articles were published between 2008 and 2010, addressing a wide range of aspects of trials. There were examples of this research affecting the trial by modifying interpretation of trial findings, developing and refining interventions for testing in the trial, and changing the measures used in the trial. However, researchers are not necessarily maximising the value of qualitative research undertaken with trials to the evidence of effectiveness of health interventions. They can maximise value by: promoting its use at the pre-trial stage to ensure that the intervention and trial conduct is optimised at the main trial stage; being explicit about the conclusions for the trial endeavour in peer-reviewed journal articles reporting the qualitative research; and valuing the contribution of the qualitative research as much as the trial. O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Goode J, Hewison J. Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research: the QUAlitative Research in Trials (QUART) study – a mixed methods study. Health Technol Assess 2014;18(38).

Publications

  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Goode J, Hewison J. Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research: the QUAlitative Research in Trials (QUART) study – a mixed methods study. Health Technol Assess 2014;18(38).
  • O’Cathain A, Goode J, Drabble SJ, Thomas KJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. Getting added value from using qualitative research with randomised controlled trials: A qualitative interview study. Trials 2014;15:215.
  • Drabble SJ, O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. Describing qualitative research undertaken with randomised controlled trials in grant proposals: a documentary analysis. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2014, 14:24.
  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. What can qualitative research do for randomised controlled trials? A systematic mapping review. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002889.

Conference

The MRC Hubs for Trials Methodology Research funded a day conference in November 2012 to disseminate the work. They also funded a workshop to develop guidance on using qualitative research at the pilot/feasibility stage of a trial. During this workshop, links were made with a group developing guidance for process evaluations in public health trials and researchers interested in how clinical trials units undertake qualitative research. These associations have produced publications:

  • Moore G, Audrey S, Barker M, Bond L, Bonell C, Cooper C, Hardeman W, Moore L, O’Cathain A, Tannaze T, Wight D, Baird J. Process evaluation in complex public health intervention studies: the need for guidance. J Epidemiol Community Health 2013;0:1–2. doi:10.1136/jech-2013-202869
  • Cooper C, O’Cathain A, Hind D, Adamson J, Lawton J, Baird W. Conducting qualitative research within Clinical Trials Units: Avoiding potential pitfalls. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2014;38:338–343

Learning Disability (theme lead Dr Liz Croot)

WILD

Modified a main stream commercial weight loss programme for use with people with learning disabilities. Find out more about the project here

Workforce (theme lead Dr Emily Wood)

RoHMS (Retention of Mental Health Staff)

Research project to investigate variation in, and determinants of, mental health care staff retention. Find out more about the project here.

Third Sector Organisations and Social Prescribing (theme lead Dr Alexis Foster)

Implementing patient reported outcome measures
Green Social Prescribing 
 

Palliative Care (theme lead Dr Paul Taylor)

 ENCOMPASS
ECHO
 The Yorkshire Palliative Care Research Network

Developing complex interventions (theme lead Professor Alicia O'Cathain)

CARDIAC PREHAB-UK Prehabilitation before cardiac surgery in the UK
Dr Maria Pufulete From University Hospitals Bristol is leading this NIHR Programme Development Grant to design a prehabilitation programme to support patients undergoing heart surgery and test whether it can be implemented in the pre-operative clinical pathway and whether it works. In order to achieve these aims, we need to spend some time exploring and reviewing the best way to get this done.  
Creative co-design, knowledge mobilisation and musculoskeletal physiotherapy
INDEX (IdentifyiNg and assessing different approaches to DEveloping compleX interventions - MRC funded guidance)

Summary

The aim of this study was to produce guidance for researchers on how to develop complex interventions to improve health or health care outcomes. The objectives were to: 1. Identify and describe the different approaches taken to intervention development, the rationales for their use, and any implications for the future utility of the interventions. 2. Compare and contrast different intervention development approaches, the methods of data collection and analysis they used, considering strengths and limitations overall and for different contexts. 3. Understand the history and challenges of intervention development from the perspectives of experienced researchers and wider stakeholders e.g. research funders, public and patient representatives. 4. Measure stakeholder consensus on the key aspects of intervention development and explore the reasons for any lack of consensus. 5. Offer guidance to researchers on good practice, with examples from different approaches.

The design was a sequential mixed methods study in 3 phases. In phase 1 we undertook three systematic reviews of literature on intervention development. The first identified different approaches and methods in primary intervention research and expert description and critiques. The second was an in-depth analysis of the application of primary intervention development research to improve health or health care outcomes. The third was a review of a sample of successful interventions and the intervention development approaches they used. In phase 2 we identified the challenges of intervention development in a qualitative interview study, and considered with stakeholders how to bring together the learning from our data collection. In phase 3 we undertook a consensus exercise to identify core aspects of intervention development.

Sponsor

The Medical Research Council

Team

For further details about this study, please contact Veronica Fibisan, administrator assistant at v.fibisan@sheffield.ac.uk.

Downloads

  1. The guidance paper (PDF, 557KB)
  2. Extended guidance (PDF, 758KB)
  3. Overview of published approaches to intervention development (PDF, 1.3MB)
  4. Systematic review of primary studies (PDF, 915KB)
  5. Qualitative findings: the meaning of 'success' (PDF, 543KB)
  6. Qualitative findings about design (PDF, 430KB)
ADAPT (guidance for adapting effective interventions to new contexts)
 

Modified a main stream commercial weight loss programme for use with people with learning disabilities. Find out more about the project here

WILD

Find out more about the project here.

ACTiF

Development and evaluation of an intervention to support Adherence to treatment in adults with Cystic Fibrosis (ACtiF). 

Objectives

  1. To embed adherence measurement in routine Cystic Fibrosis care by (i) building the IT infrastructure to capture adherence data from nebulisers and dry powders (ii) developing a web-portal ‘CF Healthhub’ to display adherence data to people with Cystic Fibrosis (PWCF) and clinicians, and (iii) co-producing the web-portal interface with patients and clinicians to facilitate maximum utility.
  2. To develop a Behaviour Change Intervention (BCI) that uses feedback of measured adherence data, linked to a range of evidence based interventions including Problem Solving and Implementation Plans to increase adherence.
  3. To test the cost effectiveness of the BCI by (i) exploring its feasibility and acceptability in a mixed methods study, (ii) testing its efficacy in an RCT of 550 patients in 12 CF Units, (iii) understanding its implementation in practice using a process evaluation, and (iv) modelling its cost effectiveness.

Team

  • Dr Martin Wildman
  • Professor Alicia O'Cathain
  • Mr John Ainsworth
  • Professor Madelynne Arden
  • Mr Daniel Beever
  • Professor Judy Bradley
  • Professor Iain Buchan
  • Professor Stuart Elborn
  • Professor Rachel Elliot
  • Dr Daniel Hind
  • Ms Marlene Hutchings
  • Professor Susan Michie
  • Professor Mohammed A Mohammed
  • Professor Jon Nicholl
  • Dr Paul Tappenden
  • Professor Stephen Walters
  • Mr Robert Rathbone
  • Susan Kirkpatrick

Funding

NIHR Applied Research Programme Grant £2M.

Timing

Start date March 2015, for 5 years.

Contact

For more information, please contact Dr Martin Wildman on martin.wildman@sth.nhs.uk.

Download the ACtiF Pilot Protocol (PDF, 2.1MB)

Dentistry safety (theme lead Professor Jon Nicholl)

IDEA
The Invasive Dentistry – Endocarditis Association Study
 
 PJI 
Do Invasive Dental Procedures Cause Prosthetic Joint Infections?

Methodological research (theme lead Professor Alicia O'Cathain)

  RHABIT (Recording Harms in Behavioural change Intervention Trials)
 
Learning from COVID-19 efficient trial adaptations
Find out more about the project here.
INDEX (IdentifyiNg and assessing different approaches to DEveloping compleX interventions - MRC funded guidance)

Summary

The aim of this study was to produce guidance for researchers on how to develop complex interventions to improve health or health care outcomes. The objectives were to: 1. Identify and describe the different approaches taken to intervention development, the rationales for their use, and any implications for the future utility of the interventions. 2. Compare and contrast different intervention development approaches, the methods of data collection and analysis they used, considering strengths and limitations overall and for different contexts. 3. Understand the history and challenges of intervention development from the perspectives of experienced researchers and wider stakeholders e.g. research funders, public and patient representatives. 4. Measure stakeholder consensus on the key aspects of intervention development and explore the reasons for any lack of consensus. 5. Offer guidance to researchers on good practice, with examples from different approaches.

The design was a sequential mixed methods study in 3 phases. In phase 1 we undertook three systematic reviews of literature on intervention development. The first identified different approaches and methods in primary intervention research and expert description and critiques. The second was an in-depth analysis of the application of primary intervention development research to improve health or health care outcomes. The third was a review of a sample of successful interventions and the intervention development approaches they used. In phase 2 we identified the challenges of intervention development in a qualitative interview study, and considered with stakeholders how to bring together the learning from our data collection. In phase 3 we undertook a consensus exercise to identify core aspects of intervention development.

Sponsor

The Medical Research Council

Team

For further details about this study, please contact Veronica Fibisan, administrator assistant at v.fibisan@sheffield.ac.uk.

Downloads

  1. The guidance paper (PDF, 557KB)
  2. Extended guidance (PDF, 758KB)
  3. Overview of published approaches to intervention development (PDF, 1.3MB)
  4. Systematic review of primary studies (PDF, 915KB)
  5. Qualitative findings: the meaning of 'success' (PDF, 543KB)
  6. Qualitative findings about design (PDF, 430KB)
QUART

Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research (The QUART study). Find out more about the project here.

Team

  • A O’Cathain School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield
  • KJ Thomas ScHARR, University of Sheffield
  • SJ Drabble ScHARR, University of Sheffield
  • A Rudolph ScHARR, University of Sheffield
  • J Hewison Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds

Funding

MRC Methodology Research Panel

Summary

Background: Researchers often undertake qualitative research with randomised controlled trials of health interventions, particularly when evaluating the effectiveness of complex interventions.

Aims: To systematically explore how qualitative research is being used with trials and identify ways of maximising its value to the trial endeavour of providing evidence of effectiveness of health interventions.

Design: A sequential mixed methods study with four components.

Methods: 1. Database search of peer-reviewed journals between January 2008 and September 2010 for articles reporting the qualitative research undertaken with specific trials. 2. Systematic search of database of registered trials to identify studies combining qualitative research and trials. 3. Survey of 200 lead investigators of trials with no apparent qualitative research. 4. Semi-structured telephone interviews with 18 researchers purposively sampled from the first three methods.

Results: Qualitative research was undertaken with at least 12% of trials. A large number of articles reporting qualitative research undertaken with trials (n=296) were published between 2008 and 2010. 28% (82/296) of articles reported qualitative research undertaken at the pre-trial stage. The articles focused on 22 aspects of the trial within 5 broad categories. Some articles focused on more than one aspect of the trial, totalling 356 examples. The qualitative research focused on the intervention being trialled (71%, 254/356); the design, process and conduct of the trial (15%, 54/356); the outcomes of the trial (1%, 5/356); the measures used in the trial (3%, 10/356); and the target condition for the trial (9%, 33/356). The potential value of the qualitative research to the trial endeavour included improving the external validity of trials and facilitating interpretation of trial findings. This value could be maximised by using qualitative research more at the pre-trial stage and reporting findings with explicit attention to the implications for the trial endeavour. During interviews, three models of study were identified: qualitative research as peripheral to the trial, qualitative research as ‘add-on’ to the trial, and a study with qualitative research and trial as essential components, with the latter model offering more opportunity to maximise the value of the qualitative research. Interviewees valued the use of qualitative research with trials and identified team structures and wider structural issues within health research as barriers to maximising the value of qualitative research.

Conclusion: A large number of articles were published between 2008 and 2010, addressing a wide range of aspects of trials. There were examples of this research affecting the trial by modifying interpretation of trial findings, developing and refining interventions for testing in the trial, and changing the measures used in the trial. However, researchers are not necessarily maximising the value of qualitative research undertaken with trials to the evidence of effectiveness of health interventions. They can maximise value by: promoting its use at the pre-trial stage to ensure that the intervention and trial conduct is optimised at the main trial stage; being explicit about the conclusions for the trial endeavour in peer-reviewed journal articles reporting the qualitative research; and valuing the contribution of the qualitative research as much as the trial. O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Goode J, Hewison J. Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research: the QUAlitative Research in Trials (QUART) study – a mixed methods study. Health Technol Assess 2014;18(38).

Publications

  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Goode J, Hewison J. Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research: the QUAlitative Research in Trials (QUART) study – a mixed methods study. Health Technol Assess 2014;18(38).
  • O’Cathain A, Goode J, Drabble SJ, Thomas KJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. Getting added value from using qualitative research with randomised controlled trials: A qualitative interview study. Trials 2014;15:215.
  • Drabble SJ, O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. Describing qualitative research undertaken with randomised controlled trials in grant proposals: a documentary analysis. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2014, 14:24.
  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. What can qualitative research do for randomised controlled trials? A systematic mapping review. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002889.

Conference

The MRC Hubs for Trials Methodology Research funded a day conference in November 2012 to disseminate the work. They also funded a workshop to develop guidance on using qualitative research at the pilot/feasibility stage of a trial. During this workshop, links were made with a group developing guidance for process evaluations in public health trials and researchers interested in how clinical trials units undertake qualitative research. These associations have produced publications:

  • Moore G, Audrey S, Barker M, Bond L, Bonell C, Cooper C, Hardeman W, Moore L, O’Cathain A, Tannaze T, Wight D, Baird J. Process evaluation in complex public health intervention studies: the need for guidance. J Epidemiol Community Health 2013;0:1–2. doi:10.1136/jech-2013-202869
  • Cooper C, O’Cathain A, Hind D, Adamson J, Lawton J, Baird W. Conducting qualitative research within Clinical Trials Units: Avoiding potential pitfalls. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2014;38:338–343
Mixed Methods research

Alicia O’Cathain is a Professor of Health Services Research at the School of Health and Related Research. She has undertaken numerous mixed methods studies on topics including nurse telephone triage (survey and interviews), evidenced based leaflets in maternity care (randomised controlled trial and ethnographic study), the introduction of a primary angioplasty service (interviews, survey, and case studies), computerised cognitive behaviour therapy for people with multiple sclerosis and depression (pilot trial and interviews), the use of qualitative research with trials (surveys and interviews), and avoidable emergency admissions (analysis of routine data and case studies). She was Associate Editor of the Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2007-2012. She has written a number of papers and book chapters on how to do mixed methods research:

  • Cooper C, O’Cathain A, Hind D, Adamson J, Lawton J, Baird W. Conducting qualitative research within Clinical Trials Units: Avoiding potential pitfalls. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2014;38:338–343.
  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Goode J, Hewison J. Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research: the QUAlitative Research in Trials (QUART) study – a mixed methods study. Health Technol Assess 2014;18(38).
  • O’Cathain A, Goode J, Drabble SJ, Thomas KJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. Getting added value from using qualitative research with randomised controlled trials: A qualitative interview study. Trials 2014;15:215.
  • Drabble SJ, O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. Describing qualitative research undertaken with randomised controlled trials in grant proposals: a documentary analysis. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2014, 14:24.
  • Moore G, Audrey S, Barker M, Bond L, Bonell C, Cooper C, Hardeman W, Moore L, O’Cathain A, Tannaze T, Wight D, Baird J. Process evaluation in complex public health intervention studies: the need for guidance. J Epidemiol Community Health 2013;0:1–2. doi:10.1136/jech-2013-202869
  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ, Drabble SJ, Rudolph A, Hewison J. What can qualitative research do for randomised controlled trials? A systematic mapping review. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002889.
  • Curry LA, Krumholz HM, O’Cathain A, Plano Clark VL, Cherlin E, Bradley EH. Mixed methods in biomedical and health services research. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 2013;6:119-123.
  • Curry LA, O'Cathain A, Plano Clark VL, Aroni R, Fetters M, Berg D. The role of group dynamics in mixed methods health sciences research teams. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2012; 6(1):5-20.
  • O’Cathain A, Murphy E, Nicholl JP. Three techniques for integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in health services research. BMJ 2010; 341:1147-1150.
  • O’Cathain A. Mixed methods involving qualitative research. In Bourgeault I, Dingwall R, DeVries R (eds). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Health Research. Sage Publications, 2010, pp 575-588.
  • O’Cathain A. Assessing the quality of mixed methods research: toward a comprehensive framework. In Tashakkori & Teddlie (eds). Handbook of Mixed Methods Research, Second Edition, 2010, pp531-555.
  • O’Cathain A. Reporting mixed methods projects. In Andrew S, Halcomb E (eds). Mixed Methods Research for Nursing and the Health Sciences. Blackwell Publishing, 2009, pp135-158.
  • O’Cathain. Mixed methods research in the health sciences. A quiet revolution. Editorial. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2009; 3(1): 3-6.
  • O’Cathain A, Murphy E, Nicholl JP. Dysfunctional, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary? Team working in mixed methods research. Qualitative Health Research 2008;18(11): 1574-1585
  • O’Cathain A, Murphy E, Nicholl JP. The quality of mixed methods studies in health services research. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 2008;13:92-98. DOI:10.1258/jsrp.2007.007074
  • O’Cathain A, Murphy E, Nicholl JP. Why, and how, mixed methods research is undertaken in health services research: a mixed methods study. BMC Health Services Research 2007; 7:85.
  • O’Cathain A, Murphy E, Nicholl JP. Integration and publications as indicators of ‘yield’ from mixed methods studies. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2007; 1(2): 147-163.
  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KT. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods. In Pope C, Mays N (eds). Qualitative Research in Health Care. Blackwell Publishing Ltd: Oxford, 2006, Third Edition, pp102-111.
  • O’Cathain A, Thomas KJ. “Any other comments?” Open questions on questionnaires – a bane or a bonus to research? BMC Medical Research Methodology 2004,4:25.

Health literacy (theme lead Professor Alicia O'Cathain)

Health Literacy Interventions (HLI)

 Identifying health literacy interventions that reduce the use of primary care and emergency services for minor health issues. Find out more about the project here.

We specialise in

  • mixed methods research
  • qualitative research (non-participant observation, interviews, focus groups)
  • qualitative evidence synthesis
  • participatory-based research

HCRU Staff


Teaching, PhDs and Knowledge Exchange

  • Jennifer Read is Director of the Masters in Clinical Research. This course is for people working, or aspiring to work, in the field of clinical or health-related research within healthcare, clinical research, academic or commercial settings. It is also excellent preparation for doctoral/PhD study. PGDip, PGCert, Masters or standalone CPD module level study is supported and as are intercalating medical students.
  • We run short courses in intervention development
  • As part of knowledge transfer, HCRU are involved in supporting charities and third sector organisations to evaluate the impact of their work. This has included undertaking mixed methods studies to evaluate the impact of a national social prescribing scheme for people experiencing loneliness delivered by the British Red Cross and programmes delivered by Cruse bereavement services such as emotional support for emergency service personnel. Methods have included statistical analysis of routinely collected data and outcome measures to capture changes in wellbeing, qualitative methods to explore peoples’ experiences and Social Return on Investment analysis to understand whether services provide value for money. All evaluations have been delivered in conjunction with the third sector organisations to ensure the research produces useful learning for them. If you would like further information on how we can support research and evaluations please contact alexis.foster@sheffield.ac.uk

HCRU staff supervise PhDs in the fields of 'healthcare evaluation' and 'developing and evaluating interventions for long term conditions'. We work with colleagues in ScHARR to offer the best supervisory team for candidates. Current PhD candidates:

Name of Candidate Duration Funder/Topic Supervisor
Nick Firth PT. Start Jun 2019. Funded by NIHR Doctoral Fellowship scheme. “The Bigger Picture” How can we make psychological therapy more helpful for people in more deprived areas? Lead supervisor: Professor Alicia O'Cathain. Co-supervisors: Professor Michael Barkham, Dr Jaime Delgadillo
Cheryl Grindell FT. Start Oct 2019. Funded by University Scholarship. Exploring the role of co-design as a knowledge mobilisation strategy for musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Lead supervisor: Professor Alicia O'Cathain. Co-supervisor: Dr Liz Croot
Nuha Alshaaili FT. Start Sept 2019. Funded by the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman. The Rehabilitation Journey of a Child with Disability: Parental Acceptance and Resilience. Lead supervisor: Dr Liz Croot. Co-supervisors: Dr Sarah Drabble, Dr Andrew Lee.
Sean White FT. Start Sept 2021. Funded by NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellowship. Exploring multidisciplinary decision making for feeding strategies in MND. Second supervisor: Professor Alicia O'Cathain
Nat Jones FT. Start Sept 2020. Funded by NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellowship. Developing breakfast groups for people with stroke to improve psychosocial outcomes. Second supervisor: Professor Alicia O'Cathain

Collaborations

  • We collaborate with third sector organisations, clinicians, and industry.

Contact us

Email: v.fibisan@sheffield.ac.uk

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.