Questions to ask researchers

When considering getting involved in research it is important to find out as much as possible about the study, and those conducting it. This section of the toolkit provides care homes with guidance on the questions to ask to ensure the best possible outcomes.

The researchers may be new to working with care homes, and they may rely on you to be clear about what is and is not possible and acceptable. This should be done well in advance of starting the study. When meeting the researcher, we strongly advise you to consider asking the following questions to ensure you are happy to take part in the research study and that it is appropriate for your home:

  • What is the aim of the study and how will it help residents?
  • Who will benefit?
  • Who is funding the study?
  • What can I influence and what has already been decided?
  • Who will and won’t be able to take part in the study (inclusion and exclusion criteria)?
  • What intervention or treatment will residents or staff receive if they take part in the study?
  • What are the risks to their taking part? (e.g. distress, discomfort, raised expectations about what the research will do for them)
  • How long is the study expected to last and how long will residents be asked to take part?
  • How long will it be before the results of the study are known and how will you share the findings with residents, care home staff and family?
  • If I get involved, do I have any legal responsibilities?
  • Is there any compensation or funding provided for our input?
  • Can I state some preferences around timing of visits, length of visits, etc.?
  • How much staff time will be needed?
  • What extra tests and/or appointments will residents have?
  • Will staff need time for training, information sessions and data collection?
  • Will any costs be covered for participants? (e.g. staff compensation of work hours)
  • Will my staff have to complete questionnaires or collect data?  How long will this take?
  • If a treatment is involved, what are the possible side effects of the treatment?
  • How could the treatments affect the residents physically and emotionally?
  • How can you guarantee the safety of my residents and staff?
  • What if I witness something going wrong with the study or with a resident? What should I do?
  • Who can I contact if I have a problem? Will someone be available 24 hours a day?
  • How will you tell me the results of the study?
  • Should a resident decide to stop taking part in the study due to their condition worsening or if they feel the treatment is not helping them? Can they choose to leave at any point?
  • How will you keep my staff up to date about the study?
  • How will you keep participants in touch with progress?
  • What will happen if a participant stops the study treatment or wants to leave the study before it ends?
  • Who can I go to if I am unhappy with the researcher’s work?