Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES)

Participant in Research Experience Survey

Every year, the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) asks thousands of participants to give feedback on their experience of taking part in research, as a way of demonstrating to research participants that their contribution is valued, and to help improve the way research studies are designed and delivered, now and in the future.

In 2020/21 20,749 participants completed the Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES). This is the first year there has been a national standardised set of questions for PRES and that provides greater insight about participants experience of taking part in research; how research is delivered on the ground; and the feedback enables the NIHR the opportunity to improve the delivery of research nationally.

All 15 local CRNs and their partner organisations supported the delivery of the survey in a year with extraordinary pressures for the NHS. We would like to give a huge thank you to them, the participants in health research, and to the respondents of the survey for their valued contribution, particularly given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The staff were all amazing, so friendly and helpful and caring. Made me feel that I was doing something that really matters.
Survey respondent, 2020/21

Some of the key results from the 2020/21 survey:

  • 93% of participants felt valued by researchers for taking part in research.
  • 98% said research staff have always treated them with courtesy and respect.
  • 94% of participants said they would consider taking part in research again.
  • 96% felt they received adequate information before they took part in the study.
  • 89% said they had been kept updated during the study.

Read more results in the PRES 2020/21 Executive Summary report

I really valued the ability to be at the 'forefront' of the research, to have the opportunity to talk with the medical staff and doctors, and the benefit of a regular 'Health MOT'.
Survey respondent, 2020/21

Real-time improvements to research delivery

PRES helps those involved in the design and delivery of research to understand the factors that impact the participant’s experience of research, and this year there has been some real-time improvements made to the way in which some research has been delivered whilst the studies are taking place. Read more about these improvements in the following case studies:

For a copy of the full Annual PRES 2020/21 report please contact the CRN Coordinating Centre.

 More information about PRES

What is PRES?

PRES is an annual nationally standardised survey used to collect adults and children’s views and experiences of participating in NIHR supported research. PRES was developed by the NIHR Clinical Research Network to demonstrate to research participants that their contribution is valued, and to help make meaningful improvements to research based on people’s real-life experience. It is the largest survey of its kind, with all 15 local Clinical Research Networks across England supporting it.

Why NIHR conducts PRES

Research is a partnership between the people who volunteer to take part, known as participants, and the researchers. Every year, the NIHR asks thousands of participants to give feedback on their experience to help improve the way research studies are designed and delivered, now and in the future, so that we can positively impact people’s experience of recruitment to, and taking part in, research.

The difference participant feedback makes

As far as possible, we want those who begin studies to be able to complete their research journey and go on to take part in further studies and even promote research participation to their friends and families.

  • Feedback from research participants can help researchers understand both what they are doing well and where there are opportunities to improve.
  • The responses we get to PRES can help shape research far beyond the study someone has taken part in, or the healthcare service they have used.
  • Positive feedback is celebrated and can help motivate more people to get involved in research studies. It also helps researchers know that their work is valued by the people they are trying to help.
  • Research teams are also able to use feedback about what didn’t go well to inform improvement projects. This has led to the introduction of many great new initiatives in research delivery teams across the country.

What NIHR does with the PRES results

Responses to PRES are kept anonymous. Each year, PRES findings are shared back with research teams at the health and care setting (e.g. a hospital, GP surgery, etc.) where you took part in the research. This enables research teams to learn what they are doing well and identify immediate opportunities to make improvements in specific research studies and local research settings.

Each of the 15 local CRNs will also produce a local, regional report. Nationally, NIHR also brings together all of the country’s responses and develops a national-level report. Some of the challenges participants experience simply can’t be dealt with by the research delivery teams alone - they are often issues that have arisen from the research design or even funding requirements. By completing PRES, participants can ensure their experiences are shared with the bodies that influence the whole research system.

How you can take part in PRES

If you are taking part in NIHR-supported health or care research and want to share your experience, speak to a member of your research team to find out how you can give feedback.

Research delivery teams interested in running PRES should contact their local CRN PPIE team or the CRN Coordinating Centre.

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