Multichannel pipetteScientific equipment.

Scientific research uses scientific processes to provide objective information and knowledge. It is critical to enable us to find out what actually causes a symptom and what can really make a difference to it.

Watch the short video below to find out more about how research happens.

Scientific research begins with an observation: seeing something happen. If a baby is born with blistered skin, this symptom is an observation. Some researchers will study how often it happens, when and where and how. The observation leads researchers to consider what causes the symptom and how it can be treated.

Doctors don’t need to know exactly what causes a symptom before they try to treat it but knowing more can help researchers choose which existing treatments might work best and which could make things worse.

It is important to know how well different potential treatments work. Clinical trials are carried out by researchers to find this out.

When researchers discover something new, they write an article for publication in a scientific journal, so the knowledge becomes available to everyone. They don’t just say what they think they’ve found out but explain clearly what they did, what the results were and how they were analysed. This allows other researchers to draw their own conclusions and carry out further research to build on the new information.

Many research studies will have flaws, and some will provide stronger evidence than others so it is important that everyone can read exactly what was done. Evidence from research studies is used to inform decisions about whether a treatment should be licensed and provided by the NHS. Sometimes a research study provides evidence that an original idea was incorrect. Studies that show something is not the case or that a treatment does not work effectively are also vital for people to receive the best care.

DEBRA UK funds medical research for clinical trials on treatments being developed, to repurpose existing treatments and basic science.


Image credit: Multichannel pipette, by ACHUTH P JAYARAJ. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.