AHP research placement

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Research has been defined as 'a systematic investigation to derive generalisable or transferable new knowledge to answer or refine relevant questions with sound methods' (HRA 2017).

Research underpins clinical practice , and AHPs are integral in leading, implementing and engaging with research across Health and Social care settings.  

Supporting students to develop skills in both qualitative and quantitative  research methodologies is key to building a workforce both create and apply the evidence base for clinical practice.  Practice based learning taking place in a research environment  can enable students to achieve their learning outcomes, strengthening and developing research skills taught at Unversity.  

Research based PrBL can take place in :

  • Higher Education institutes
  • NHS research teams
  • Research Institutes
  • Social care settings
  • Private companies - eg in R&D teams



The Research Cycle and where students can be involved

The Research Cycle is a diagrammatic representation of where students can be contribute to research.  You can find more information on the Council for AHP Research (CAHPR) website. 


research cycle. words in blue circles

The Research Cycle

This is a diagram depicting the main processes involved in research. Students can be involved at any of these stages.

At the IDEA stage, students can:

  • contribute ideas and thoughts/experiences
  • carry out a literature review
  • work with service users and their families to find out what is important to them

For research DESIGN, students 

  • can help with questionnaire design
  • bring a different perspective to developing study aims and objectives

In the PLANNING stage, which involves engagement with funders and funding calls as well as consideration of research ethics, students can engage with 

  • consideration of the principles of ethical practice
  • completion of research ethics submissions
  • researching sources of funding for projects

DATA COLLECTION methods will vary depending on the type of study being carried out, but students will be able to participate in various ways. For example:

  • carrying out interviews with study participants
  • distributing and collating questionnaires
  • developing eg spreadsheets for organisation of data collected

ANALYSIS and INTERPRETATION of data will vary depending on the type of study being carried out and the data collected.  These are skills which may take time to develop, but students can be involved in eg data checking. 

DISSEMINATION of findings 'closes the loop' on the research cycle and offers a variety of ways for students to be involved, such as:

  • preparation of material - eg designing a conference poster or a journal article
  • promoting and publicising the research via professional body journals
  • using social media to share research findings.


Health Education England have produced more detailed guidance for AHP  students in research, and this can be found here:

HEE guidance on AHP research placements