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Course Overview

Everything we do in healthcare has to be discovered and thoroughly tested before it can be put into practice. In this course you will explore clinical research – its challenges and its huge benefits to modern healthcare. You will work through case studies and examine how research contributes to the treatment of major diseases, such as cancer and dementia, examining the process of conducting research and the ethical questions raised. You will learn how members of a research team, academics and participants in clinical research all contribute to this process of discovery.

  • The fundamental principles of the scientific process, and their importance in ensuring that clinical research delivers accurate information and answers.
  • The origins of clinical trials, and how an understanding of how to conduct clinical research has developed over time.
  • How modern clinical trials are conducted, the importance of minimising bias, and the role of techniques such as randomisation and control, and placebos and blinding.
  • The impact of the digital revolution and big data on how clinical trials are conducted, and the opportunities and challenges these present.
  • The importance of ensuring that clinical research is ethical and the key principles that are essential to ensuring that clinical trials are set up and conducted in an ethically sound manner.
  • The role that respect has to play in clinical research and how we can ensure that research is carried out in a way that is respectful to participants.
  • How clinical research is regulated in the United Kingdom and internationally.
  • The importance of informed consent, the key concepts associated with gaining valid consent from research participants, and the process for gaining informed consent.
  • How the results of research are put into practice. How the results of research are reported and communicated to the wider world, and the importance of analysing critically media reporting of clinical research.
  • The ways in which clinical research is funded.
  • Future directions, opportunities and challenges for clinical research.

This course is designed for anyone who wants to know more about modern healthcare, and the role of clinical research and discovery within it. It will be of special interest to: students at school or college; undergraduates or postgraduates who are contemplating a career in healthcare or the life sciences; and health and social care professionals and practitioners who want to find out more about the role of clinical research in improving healthcare.

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to…
  • Reflect on what modern healthcare would look like without the benefit of past clinical research, and evaluate the state of future healthcare should there be a lack of further research.
  • Summarise roles within a clinical research team and identify the role of the patient in the process.
  • Explain the importance of reducing the possibility of bias when designing a clinical trial, and identify techniques which are designed to help do this.
  • Evaluate the rules, regulations and best practices involved in clinical research, and explain the three aims all researchers must consider within their work.
  • Identify the meaning of ‘respect’ within the context of clinical research.
  • Summarise the role of research ethics committees, and explain how their work is conducted.
  • Explore the process of how research is put into practice, and reflect on historical and present day approaches.
  • Evaluate the impact of the media in published research, and interpret media headlines by discussing examples.