Medical Care Research Unit

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

A nurse and patient. She is showing the patient a piece of paper.
On

Research

The Medical Care Research Unit has been conducting high quality health services research for almost 50 years. Our aim is to carry out research that influences health care practice and policy for the benefit of NHS patients and the public. We develop and evaluate services and technologies to measure the impact on patient outcomes, service effectiveness and the wider social and economic effects.

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

MCRU staff provide support to ScHARR Postgraduate Taught Programmes and Postgraduate Research Students undertaking PhD studies.

MCRU Director


Research themes

Developing and evaluating new interventions

We collaborate with clinicians, social scientists and clinical trials units to develop interventions and then test them in randomised control trials (RCTs).

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.

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)

WILD

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

Healthlines

The Healthlines Study is a research programme exploring ways in which NHS Direct can support people to manage their long term health conditions.

Why are we conducting the Healthlines Study?

As the population is getting older, more people are living with long term conditions (LTCs) such as asthma, diabetes and depression. There is great interest in considering how the NHS can best help people to manage LTCs including using `telehealth´ (based on technologies such as the internet and the telephone).

Because NHS Direct already provide services by telephone and the internet they are in a good position to support people with LTCs using telehealth methods

What are the aims of the Healthlines Study?

The aims of the Healthlines Study are to find out the type of services that people with LTCs would like NHS Direct to provide, the types of people who would find this most useful, and then to develop suitable services and to test whether they work.

What is the Healthlines Study?

The Healthlines Study programme is made of a series of separate research activities. 

  1. Activity 1: Evidence synthesis and Horizon Scanning
  2. Activity 2: Qualitative Study
  3. Activity 3: Patient Survey
  4. Activity 4: Developing the Intervention
  5. Activity 5: Definitive Evaluation (RCT)

For information about each stage of the research please click on the link below which will take you to the main Healthlines website: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/healthlines/about

Activities 1-4 have now finished and Activity 5- the Definitive Evaluation- Randomised Controlled Trial is now underway (see below for further information).

Testing the intervention

Activities 1-4 have resulted in the development of two NHS Direct based telehealth services, one for people with depression and the other for people with a high risk of cardio-vascular disease. The aim of the NHS Direct service is to provide people with support to help them better manage these two examples of long term conditions.

As these are new services we are conducting a randomised controlled trial to test whether they are beneficial to patients. This will involve recruiting approximately 1280 patients across the country, including 600 people in the South Yorkshire area, via their GP Practices.

If you click on the link below that will take you to the protocol which explains more about this part of the Healthlines Study: Healthlines Protocol (PDF: 170KB)

For further information please click on the link below which will take you to the main Healthlines website: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/healthlines/about

Who is involved in the Healthlines Study?

The Healthlines Study is a collaboration between the Universities of Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and NHS Direct.

How is the Healthlines Study being funded?

The Healthlines Study is being funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research Scheme (Ref RP-PG-0108-10011).

How long is the Healthlines Study running for?

The Healthlines Study is a five year project that started in November 2009 and will finish in 2014.

Who is involved in the Healthlines Study?

Within ScHARR the following people work on the Healthlines Study:

  • Professor Alicia O’Cathain, Local Principal Investigator
  • Alexis Foster, Research Associate
  • Kimberley Horspool, Research Assistant
  • Richard Campbell, Research Administrator
  • Dr Sarah Drabble, Research Associate
  • Professor Jon Nicholl, Dean of ScHARR

Key people on the Healthlines Study at the University of Bristol include:

  • Dr Clare Thomas, Programme Manager
  • Professor Chris Salisbury, Chief Investigator

Where can I get further information about the Healthlines Study?

For further information about the Healthlines Study please contact Alexis Foster, Research Associate on alexis.foster@sheffield.ac.uk or call +114 222 26129.

Alternatively you can visit the Healthlines Study website: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/healthlines/


Evaluating established services

PROMS

How do Third Sector Organisations measure outcomes routinely for well-being services?

IDEA

IDEA study

PJI

PJI study

VAN

Understanding variation in rates of ambulance service ‘non-conveyance of patients to an emergency department’

Summary

Ambulance services have increased their use of alternatives to transporting patients to an emergency department (ED) in order to help manage demand, provide a clinically appropriate service for patients and contribute to reducing unnecessary use of EDs and emergency beds. This is often referred as ‘non conveyance’. Alternatives to transporting patients to an ED include the provision of telephone advice rather than dispatching a vehicle (‘hear and treat’), treatment at the scene (‘see and treat’) and transport to other facilities such as a walk in centre (‘see and convey elsewhere’). There is considerable variation in the rates of different types of non-conveyance, and in non-conveyance overall, between ambulance services in England.

Understanding the reasons for variation between services can help to identify ways of improving service delivery across all ambulance services.

Aims of the study:

  1. To identify the determinants of variation between and within ambulance services for three different types of non-conveyance: ‘hear and treat’, ‘see and treat’ and ‘see and convey elsewhere’.
  2. To identify the determinants of variation between and within ambulance services in potentially inappropriate non-conveyance for three different types of non-conveyance.
  3. To explore organisational variation in the provision of ‘hear and treat’ in three ambulance services.
  4. To understand variation between and within ambulance services in three different types of non-conveyance rates for respiratory problems.

Work packages

WP1 Identifying factors affecting variation in rates of non-conveyance and potentially inappropriate non-conveyance

We will undertake a qualitative interview study with three key stakeholder groups; service providers, paramedics and commissioners. We will identify perceived determinants of each of the three different types of non-conveyance (‘hear and treat’, ‘see and treat’, ‘see and convey elsewhere’) and potentially inappropriate non-conveyance for ambulance services in England.

WP2 Testing factors affecting variation between and within ambulance services

We will obtain one month of routine Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) call data from ambulance services to identify determinants of each type of non-conveyance. The factors we will test will relate to three levels: patient characteristics, crew characteristics and organisational characteristics.

WP3 Factors affecting variation in potentially inappropriate non-conveyance rates

We will repeat WP2 to assess the determinants of re-contact rates within 24 hours for two types of non-conveyance; ‘hear and treat’ and ‘see and treat’.

Additionally, using data from the ongoing NIHR Applied Research Programme PhOEBE, which is linking 6 months of data from two ambulance services with ONS and HES data, we will identify the mortality rate, hospitalisation rate, and ED attendance rate for the three types of non-conveyance.

WP4 In-depth exploration of variation in non-conveyance practices

There is a lack of evidence about variation in ‘hear and treat’ non-conveyance. We will therefore focus on this type of non-conveyance in three ambulance services with varied practice, undertaking interviews with call takers, clinical supervisors and managers as well as non-participant observation of two key processes; making the decision to offer ‘hear and treat’ and offering the ‘hear and treat’ advice.

Research team

  • Professor Alicia O’Cathain (Lead investigator/WP2 lead)
  • Dr Emma Knowles (Project manager/WP1 lead)
  • Joanne Coster (WP3 lead)
  • Dr Rachel O’Hara (WP4 lead)
  • Lindsey Bishop-Edwards
  • Dr Richard Jacques
  • Janette Turner
  • Tony Stone
  • Maggie Marsh (PPI representative)
  • Cathryn James (Yorkshire Ambulance Service)
  • Professor Niro Siriwardena (University of Lincoln)
  • Professor Julia Williams (University of Hertfordshire)

Funder

Health Services and Delivery Research Programme

For further details about this research, please contact Richard Campbell, study administrator at r.j.campbell@sheffield.ac.uk

Downloads

DEUCE

Drivers of Demand for Emergency and Urgent CarE services (DEUCE): understanding patients' and public perspectives

Summary

In England, urgent care is provided by a range of services including emergency services (999 ambulance service, emergency departments and hospitals dealing with emergency admissions), urgent care services (GP out of hours, minor injury units, walk-in centres, NHS 111) and in-hours general practice (requests for same day appointments and telephone advice).

Concerns have been expressed about the increase in demand for some of these services (specifically ambulance, emergency department and in-hours general practice) and their capacity to deal with this demand. A key concern is the use of a higher acuity service than is clinically necessary. For example, people attending an emergency department when their problem could be dealt with by general practice, or people using urgent appointments with GPs when scheduled appointments or self-care could be used.

We need to know more about population attitudes to seeking health care, reasons for people’s decision-making, and what might help people to make choices.

The intention is that it will help policy makers to plan future ways of managing demand so that service provision works for patients and is sustainable in the future.

We plan to undertake three sequential studies.

Work package 1..... is a realist synthesis of how people make decisions to use different types of services for urgent care. We will build on recent reviews which identify the range of factors affecting demand for emergency and urgent care services by identifying underlying reasons for the decisions people make, potential ways of reducing clinically unnecessary use of services, and gaps in the evidence base in terms of important sub-groups which have not been studied sufficiently.

Work package 2..... is a qualitative study, interviewing people about how they make decisions to use emergency services, urgent care services, routine or self-care. We will interview three sub-groups of the population who have been identified as making clinically unnecessary use of services but where little qualitative research has been undertaken. Interviews will focus on why people make decisions to contact different services, trying to understand what lies at the heart of their behaviour and what might help them to use non-urgent services or self-care when it is not clinically necessary to use emergency or urgent services. Three focus groups will identify potential solutions to help people in their decision-making.

Work package 3..... is a national survey of 3000 adults in Britain, undertaken as part of the NatCen British Social Attitudes survey. We will add a number of questions to this survey. Questions will be informed by a recent rapid review (Turner 2015), the findings from WPs 1 and 2, a PPI event, and the HS&DR-funded Turnbull study of sense-making strategies and help-seeking behaviours. We will ask about attitudes towards seeking help from different providers of emergency and urgent care, including perceptions of availability of services, expectations of a 24/7 culture, preferences for emergency care services, risk perception, awareness of alternative services and health literacy. We will measure the proportions of people who have different attitudes and which of these affects the propensity to use levels of services that are not clinically necessary. We will look at how these attitudes vary by different population sub-groups.

Our research team

  • Professor Alicia O’Cathain (Lead investigator/WP1 lead)
  • Dr Emma Knowles (Project manager/WP2 lead)
  • Joanne Coster 
  • Janice Connell
  • Lindsey Bishop-Edwards
  • Dr Jaqui Long
  • Dr Richard Jacques
  • Janette Turner
  • Professor Steve Goodacre
  • Dr Liz Croot
  • Dr Jon Dickson
  • Enid Hirst (PPI representative)
  • Shan Bennett (PPI representative)
  • Linda AbouZeid (PPI representative)
  • Miranda Phillips (National Centre for Social Research & WP3 lead)
  • Joanne Turnbull (University of Southampton)

Funder

NIHR (Health Services and Delivery Research Programme). Study start date 1st February 2017

For further details about this research, please contact Sue Ridgway, clerical officer at s.ridgway@sheffield.ac.uk.


Methodological research

We improve how researchers do research through MRC Methodology funding. Here are some of our projects and research techniques:

QUART

Maximising the value of combining qualitative research and randomised controlled trials in health research (The QUART study)

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
INDEX

(IdentifyiNg and assessing different approaches to DEveloping compleX interventions)

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)
The MRC ConDuCT-II Hub

Collaboration and innovation in difficult and complex randomised controlled trials in invasive procedures.

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.

We specialise in:

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

MCRU Staff


Teaching, PhDs and knowledge transfer

  • Dr. Elizabeth Croot is the Director of Teaching and Learning
  • We run short courses in intervention development and using qualitative research with randomised controlled trials
  • As part of knowledge transfer, MCRU 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

MCRU 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 include:

Name of Candidate Duration Funder/Topic Supervisor
Latifah K Alenezi FT.  Start Dec 2013. Funded by government of State of Kuwait.  The use of CBT in the physiotherapy management of chronic pain. Lead supervisor:  Dr Liz Croot.  Co-supervisor: Dr Janet Harris.
Jo Coster PT. Start Jan 2012. Self Funded.  Safety and appropriateness of ‘See and treat’ in the ambulance service. Lead supervisor: Professor Jon Nicholl. Co-supervisor: Professor Alicia O'Cathain.
Alexis Foster FT. Start Jan 2017. NIHR Doctoral Fellowship scheme. Identifying the facilitators and barriers to implementing the routine use of outcome measures in third sector wellbeing organisations Lead supervisor: Professor Alicia O'Cathain. Co-supervisors: Dr. Janet Harris, Professor John Brazier.
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.

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.