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Public Attitudes to Research

Consulting the Public

It is important that the public is consulted in relation to many topics related to research. We have highlighted some resources in this area which may be of interest to you:

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A report in 2016 on the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey (NILT) on public attitudes to data sharing in Northern Ireland has found that there is strong public support for the sharing of personal data for research purposes where a clear benefit to society can be demonstrated. It is the first survey of its kind to measure attitudes towards data sharing in Northern Ireland, with a focus on health data. Download the report here>

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In 2013 the Health Research Authority (HRA) carried out a survey of the general public attitudes towards health research.

Also see http://www.hra.nhs.uk/news/category/patients-and-public which will take you to an updated survey which shows 97% of the public think health research is important and 74% of people think every patient should be offered the opportunity to participate in research.

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In 2014, Ipsos MORI conducted a study in partnership with the British Science Association, on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on Public Attitudes to Science

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Wellcome, a major funder of health and social care research has published many useful articles on this topic: https://wellcome.ac.uk/what-we-do

An example of one such topic is whether and how "Health Related Findings" (HRFs), which can occur in the course of a study involving human participants, should be fed back to the research participant. 

A framework, informed by a wider project which included research on public attitudes to this, has been developed to help researchers identify and consider the relevant issues when designing and implementing a policy on the feedback of HRFs. Click here for more information on the framework. 

Also read the 2012 report on Assessing Public Attitudes to Health Related Findings in Research