The research protocol forms an essential part of a research project. It is a full description of the research study and will act as a ‘manual’ for members of the research team to ensure adherence to the methods outlined. As the study gets underway, it can then be used to monitor the study’s progress and evaluate its outcomes.
No two research protocols will be the same, but they will have a similar structure:
- background or rationale of the project
- aims / objectives
- experimental design and methods (including statistical analysis)
- ethical considerations
- benefits of the study
- resources and costs
The protocol should go into as much detail about the research project as possible, to enable the review bodies to fully understand your study.