Guidance for producing records for ReFR by 271vY03

VIEWS: 0 PAGES: 8

									Guidance ReFeR only




The Research Findings electronic Register (ReFeR) –
A database of the findings of research studies funded
by the Department of Health


Information and guidance for Principal Investigators
producing records for ReFeR


This document explains the Department of Health’s Research Findings electronic
Register (ReFeR). It is written for Principal Investigators who are preparing
summaries of the findings of their research studies for inclusion in the Register. It
may also be of interest and help to others involved in research management and to
those using the Register.

The document provides answers to a number of questions:

 What is the Research Findings electronic Register and why is it necessary?

 How will it work?

 What is meant by ‘research findings’?

 Who will use this register?

 Will posting a summary of research findings hinder journal publication?

 Will posting a summary of research findings jeopardise opportunities to exploit
  intellectual property?

 Why is it necessary to update the record of project findings with information
  about journal publications?

 How do Principal Investigators enter the findings of research projects within the
  ReFeR structured summary template?




What is the Research Findings electronic Register and why is it necessary?

The Research Findings electronic Register (ReFeR) is a freely available database,
providing ‘prompt sight’ of quality assured information on research findings that



                                            1
Guidance ReFeR only


emerge from completed projects for which the Department of Health (DH), including
the NHS Executive, has a responsibility for ‘content’.

The DH commissions and otherwise funds a substantial amount of research relevant
to public health, health care, and social care. For example, the NHS Health
Technology Assessment Programme supports 40 new commissioned primary and
secondary research projects at a cost of around £5m per year. All projects are
carefully screened before funding to assess how likely they are to answer important
health and social care questions, and to ensure their scientific rigour. These projects
should thus be of considerable relevance and value to health and social care decision-
makers and it is, therefore, important that decision-makers are provided with efficient
access to their findings.

There are already at least two types of ‘dissemination product’ arising from most
research studies. Research funders require a full ‘final report’ of projects that they
have funded, and researchers seek to publish their results as journal articles. However,
these ‘products’ do not reliably ensure prompt sight of research findings. Final reports
of projects are usually too detailed, written for academics, often have no (structured)
summary, and there is no single point of access to them. Journal articles may not arise
from the research (especially if the study is negative), or may not report
comprehensively the findings of research studies. Also, journal articles often do not
appear quickly enough, sometimes being delayed for up to five years, and may appear
in any of hundreds of different journals.


How will it work?

For research projects funded by the DH, the Department’s R&D Programme Director
already requires from the Principal Investigator a final report once the project has
been completed. Programme Directors usually also request copies of journal
publications arising from the work funded.

Principal Investigators will be required, when they send their final reports, to also
submit a structured summary of findings for inclusion in the Research Findings
electronic Register. An electronic form or ‘template’ will be provided for this. The
Programme Director will satisfy him/herself that the summary is of sufficient quality
for publication on the register, usually through peer review mechanisms. In some
cases, they may also assist Principal Investigators by providing professional support
in the preparation of the structured summaries.

Principal Investigators will also be asked to keep their records up-to-date in relation to
publications, so that the register provides valuable ‘sign-posting’ to where the
findings have been reported in full. The DH will use the register as a source of
information about publication output from research that they fund.


What is meant by ‘research findings’?

Most researchers are familiar with reporting the results of their studies using a
structured framework that includes sections to describe results and conclusions. Some


                                            2
Guidance ReFeR only


reports add sections about the authors’ views about the implications of their findings,
for example for health policy, clinical practice, or future research.

This Research Findings electronic Register is intended to provide a brief structured
summary of the findings of individual research studies, written clearly for a wide
audience. It does not aim to provide the detailed data underlying the findings, nor
does it aim to review the body of existing knowledge in an area to which an individual
study might contribute. Accordingly, it will not contain recommendations for health
policy or practice. (Please see also the guidance provided in appendix 1.)


Who will use this register?

The Research Findings electronic Register is a freely available database. It is intended
to be accessible and understandable to all those making decisions about health, health
care and social care. This includes consumers of health and social care as well as
health and social care professionals, managers and policy makers. It is also intended
to be a valuable source of information for researchers, including those preparing
systematic reviews.

It is important that the breadth of the intended audience of the register is taken into
account when writing the structured summary. The style of writing may need to be
different to that traditionally employed, for example when writing for specialist
journals. Scientific abbreviations and jargon must be avoided.


Will posting a summary of research findings hinder journal publication?

Posting of a brief summary of research findings should not prejudice future chances
of journal publication. The summary will not include sufficient detail, such as data
tables, to constitute ‘prior publication’. Publication of a record on ReFeR is analogous
to publication of a conference abstract or an electronic ‘pre-print’.

Principal Investigators who, because of special circumstances, believe that posting a
record of their research findings on ReFeR could prejudice later journal publication
opportunities should contact the relevant Director or Manager of the research
programme that funded their project to discuss timing of entry on ReFeR.


Will posting a summary of research findings jeopardise opportunities to exploit
intellectual property?

Principal Investigators should be familiar with the Department of Health’s Policy
Framework for the Management of Intellectual Property arising from R&D, as well
as two associated documents: The Management of Intellectual Property and Related
Matters, and Handling Inventions and Other Intellectual Property. These documents
are available on the DH web page at http://www.doh.gov.uk/nhsexec/ipr.htm. A small
number of research projects generate intellectual property that has the potential for
commercial exploitation. In such cases, Principal Investigators should contact the



                                            3
Guidance ReFeR only


relevant Director or Manager of the research programme that funded their project to
discuss timing of posting the summary on ReFeR.


Why is it necessary to update the record of project findings with information about
journal publications?

The definitive account of research findings should, wherever possible, be submitted
for peer-reviewed publication, usually in scientific journals. To be most useful to
those who are trying to identify the full account of the research, it is necessary to
provide ‘sign-posting’ and, where possible, electronic links to published articles.

It is expected that ReFeR will also become a valuable ‘research management tool’ and
could be used for ‘bibliometric analysis’ of the published outputs of research. It may
become one way in which research funders, including the DH, will satisfy themselves
of the likely benefit of making future research grants and research support allocations
to particular researchers and research-active organisations.


How do Principal Investigators enter the findings of research projects within the
ReFeR structured summary template?

Principal Investigators will be provided with an electronic template (in Word or
Visual Basic format) into which they should enter their structured summary, using
only the ‘fields’ provided. The Visual Basic template requires no other software for its
operation, ie it is a ‘self executing application’. The completed template should be
returned to the appropriate Programme Director, both as an electronic file and printed
on A4 paper.

Appendix 1 provides brief guidance to help Principal Investigators complete the
template. It provides more detailed advice about what should, and should not, be
included in certain key information fields.




                                           4
Guidance ReFeR only



                                                                            Appendix 1
Table: Completing the structured summary template – guidance
This table gives brief guidance about what information to enter to each of the fields
within the structured summary template for the Research Findings electronic Register.

The same template is to be used for all types of research/research design. Notes after
the table provide more detailed guidance about the types of information to enter for
several fields of the template (factor(s) of interest, method(s), sample group(s),
outcome(s), findings and conclusions).

Authors of structured summaries are asked to take special note of the advice
about what to include in the ‘findings’ and ‘conclusions’ fields – see ‘what is
meant by research findings’, page 3 above, and the later notes in this appendix.



 Project Title               This will usually be the same as the title shown in the National
                             Research Register. It may already be entered when you receive the
                             structured summary form to complete. Changes from the title
                             given in the NRR should be brought to the attention of the relevant
                             Programme Director


 NRR Project Number          This number is a unique identifier for the project. It is likely to
                             already be entered when you receive the structured summary form
                             to complete.


 NRR Data Provider           [This will be completed by the DH]



 Research Programme          Where appropriate, this will be the name of the DH research
                             programme under which the research was funded.


 Completion Date             The date the project was completed (format: dd/mm/yyyy)



 Duration of Study           The period over which the study was conducted (in months, eg 18)



 Contact                     The name of the Principal Investigator



 Address                     The address of the Principal Investigator




                                              5
Guidance ReFeR only



 Telephone                   The usual business telephone number of the Principal Investigator



 Facsimile                   The usual business fax number of the Principal Investigator



 E-Mail                      The usual business e-mail address of the Principal Investigator



 Project Team URL            The URL address of any Internet site containing information about
                             the project team and the conduct of this, and related studies.


 Aim(s)/Principal Research   An explanation of the purpose or aim(s) of the study, preferably in
 Question(s)                 the form of one or more research questions. [Max 200 words]


 Factor(s) of Interest       For experimental studies, a brief description of the intervention.
                             For observational studies, the exposure or variables of interest. See
                             also later note. [Max 200 words]


 Method(s)                   A brief description of the design of the research study. See also
                             later note. [Max 200 words]


 Sample Group(s)             A brief description of who or what was included in the study, and
                             the ‘setting’ in which the study was conducted, eg primary care,
                             community, acute hospital etc. See also later note. [Max 200
                             words]


 Outcome Measure(s)          A brief description of the outcome (or, in some cases, ‘process’)
                             measures used in the study. See also later note. [Max 200 words]


 Findings                    A clear textual statement of what the findings of the study were in
                             relation to the study’s aims and the question(s) posed. Do not
                             include detailed data. See also later note. [Max 400 words]


 Conclusions                 An interpretation of the findings of this study. Do not make
                             recommendations about policy or about clinical care. The
                             limitations of the research may be described, as may possible
                             implications for future research. See also later note. [Max 100
                             words]


 Implications for Further    Suggested implications for further research
 Research


 Primary Keywords            Where appropriate, MeSH index terms from the National Research
                             Register will be given. Principal Investigators may wish to add a
                             small number of additional key words. If so, they should be chosen
                             carefully to be those words that people such as their colleagues
                             would be likely to use as search terms. Where appropriate,


                                              6
Guidance ReFeR only


                                     keywords may reflect the names of current government/NHS
                                     priorities.



  Project Report URL                 The URL address of any Internet site containing the full project
                                     report.


  Publications (and related          References to publications. Where available, provide URL address
  URLs)                              of electronic version.




Further notes about completing key information fields

Factor(s) of Interest
This part of the structured summary should make clear the ‘focus’ of the research. A
brief description of the intervention(s) should be given for experimental studies. In
observational studies, the exposure or variables of interest should be explained. For
other studies, it may be appropriate to include a description of ‘activities undertaken’.

Method(s)
The method(s) used for the study should be stated. The following ‘classification’ of
research methods provides some indication of the types of research design that might
have been used – and the terms that it might be appropriate to use in describing them.
These terms will not necessarily be exclusive, ie a study may use more than one
method.

Outline classification of research methods

A)      Systematic Review

B)      Philosophical/Topic analytical

C)      Data based studies

        B(I)      Qualitative
        B(II)     Quantitative


                  (i)         Uncontrolled studies
                                      -        simple observational studies
                                      -        before and after studies, with no concurrent controls
                                      -        time-series studies, with no concurrent controls

                  (ii)        Non-experimental studies – controlled
                                     -        naturalistic experiments
                                     -        before-after studies with concurrent controls
                                     -        case-controlled studies
                                     -        cohort studies

                  (iii)       Experimental studies
                                     -         group RCTs
                                     -         individual RCTs

D)      Modelling



                                                      7
Guidance ReFeR only




Sample Group(s)

This section should provide a brief description of who or what was included in the
study, and the ‘setting’ of the study, eg primary care, community, acute hospital etc.
This information is particularly important when users of the information consider its
relevance to their own practice or situation.

Outcome measure(s)

This section should, where appropriate, describe the outcome(s) of interest to the
study. For example, this could be symptoms, mortality or a quality of life measure in
the trial of a new treatment or in a non-experimental study. In some studies, it will be
more appropriate to describe ‘process measures’ or other types of measurements/data
collection.

Findings
Within this Research Findings electronic Register, the findings section should contain
the summary results of the study, relating these to the study’s aims and the question(s)
posed. Detailed data – such as would be provided for a published article or a full final
report - should not be included.

Conclusions
The conclusions section should interpret the findings, again in relation to the
question(s) and issues that this study was designed to investigate. Where appropriate,
any limitations of the study should be indicated, for example in terms of sample size,
study power, and representativeness of sample. It may be appropriate to refer to other
relevant published research to assist interpretation of these findings, especially where
a relevant systematic review exists. However, it is important not to go beyond what
can reasonably be concluded from this study, for example by attempting to interpret
and describe the findings of a broader body of research (such as is accomplished
through conducting a systematic review). In particular, the summary must not make
recommendations for health policy or practice. The reason for this is that such
‘projected interpretations’ of the findings requires separate and rigorous review of all
available evidence, and assumptions about utilities and other factors relevant to policy
development.




GuidanceReFeRonly
October 2000




                                            8

								
To top