Monday, February 20, 2017
Getting a FAST-R assessment of your research
The NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) convenes a service to researchers called FAST-R (Feasibility and Acceptability Support Team for Researchers).
FAST-R offers fast and easy access to people with experience of mental health problems and their carers, who have been specially trained to advise on research proposals and documentation.
The group offer expert advice to researchers about patient information sheets, consent forms and recruitment strategies, which can help speed the regulatory approval process and highlight potential stumbling blocks to research ethics and other approval processes.
Dr Julie Williams, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, used FAST-R to evaluate information sheets and consent forms for a pilot study of an intervention to help people using mental health service to be more active.
According to Dr Williams, “It is always helpful to have an independent review of your work, and having this review from people with experience or using services, or caring for people using services, is really helpful, particularly in terms of the language we use. The FAST-R service is quick and free, and provides really useful feedback on documents to be read by participants.”
Dr Roland Zahn, also from IoPPN, is researching how MRI brain scans can be used to treat and predict depression, and used the service to get feedback on his research ideas, and to evaluate plain language summaries of his research for funding applications.
“After consultation with the FAST-R team, I received very important feedback on how to express my ideas in a way that is easier to understand,” he says. “I also learnt about specific aspects of my project which service users might find appealing that I hadn't previously thought about. Since consulting the FAST-R group the way I explain and write about my project has changed, which has been a very important part of writing my funding application.”
Researchers can apply to use the FAST-R service as soon as they have a draft study protocol. They can apply at any time, although earlier applications are recommended. There is no limit to the number of times the service can be used. For more information about applying, please read our guide to using the FAST-R service.