(Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care, Second edition, 2005)
Research generates evidence to refute, support or develop a hypothesis, attempting to find out what happens if we add or change (manipulate) clinical or service practice in some way, or to find out in a systematic way the views/ opinions/ experiences/ understandings of stakeholders.
It may also require only observation, without any intervention, and may be prospective or retrospective.
It may be qualitative or quantitative in approach.
Research is designed so that the results of the research or the theories derived from the research should be generalisable or transferable beyond the sample upon which the research was based.