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Getting started in research

Ways to get into research, develop the skills you’ll need and get your work published.


Contact your local research and development (R&D) team


It’s worth checking what your organisation is already doing or seeing if there is a R&D team nearby. You may be able to assist in studies, gaining valuable experience in research as well as making connections to those already working in your area of interest.

Training & Internships

Another option might be to look at training opportunities. Some might be offered as part of your professional development, or perhaps a master’s degree would give you the research skills you need. Whichever route you take, a course that covers study design and methodology will put you in good stead when it comes to putting forward your research questions and plans for how you’ll collect and analyse data. You might also be able to connect with lecturers already working in relevant fields and have opportunities to publish your work.


Health Education England (HEE) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) also offer internships through their Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme. The programme offers research training awards for certain health and social care professionals, and is intended for those looking to combine research with continued clinical practice. Find out more about the HEE/NIHR ICA Programme and internships.

Publishing your work


Getting studies published in recognised journals is a great way to get your name out there and show that you have an in-depth knowledge about a particular area of research. If you decide to take further training you may be able to publish work from your course, and tutors will be able to advise you on which publications to approach. If you’ve connected with a local R&D department or are working with other researchers, they will also be able to talk to you about which journals might be interested in reviewing and publishing your study, depending on your area of work. Each publication will have its own guidelines for submitting articles that you’ll need to follow.


Where appropriate, blogs, opinion pieces, shorter articles and even podcasts can also be good ways to demonstrate your passion for the subject and reach others with similar interests.

Start your own research project


Finally, there may be ways to start research projects within your current role. You’ll need to check your area or organisation’s rules and guidelines, for example around collecting data from patients or the public, and make sure you speak to managers first. You’ll also need to get ethics approval before you start. This can be a great way to see if research is for you though, and if it’s done well even a very simple study could produce enough results to get published.


For more information on local and national research organisations that offer support across different areas of research, visit our Connect and collaborate page.

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Find links to local research groups, funding programmes and related organisations.

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Hear from researchers working in healthcare, including advice for getting started.

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