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What is Health Research?

January 5, 2022
3 minutes
Evidation Highlights

What is health research?

Research begins with a question and is the process of answering those questions. In health research specifically, studies are created to answer questions that increase our understanding of people’s health and ways to improve health. For example, we might want to learn more about people's health-related experiences, dig deeper into why people have specific health habits, or determine whether a new medication or medical product can treat a health condition.  

What a study looks like depends on the types of question researchers want to answer. Different types of research can be used to answer different questions. 

Who manages health research studies? 

Many people are involved in making a research study happen because there is a lot that goes into  a successful study. For example, someone needs to decide:

  • Who should be in the study
  • How those people can learn about, sign up for, and get paid for the study
  • What the study steps should look like
  • What data should be collected
  • How the data should be analyzed

Study teams can range from a small group of people working together to much larger groups where everyone has a very specific job. In general, the people in charge of leading health research studies are the study sponsor and a principal investigator (PI). They are supported by a variety of research staff.  

Infographic breaking down the different stakeholders in managing health research

When and Where do health research studies happen?

Health research takes place all year round, at many different places. The right place for a study often depends on the questions it wants to answer.  For example, some studies take place in person, at locations called “research sites”. Research sites can be a part of a hospital, private medical practice, or a university. Study volunteers go to research sites when the study involves in-person activities, like face-to-face interviews, lab tests or other clinical procedures, or the use of devices people do not have at home. 

Other studies are conducted completely virtually, often via smartphones or computers. These studies are sometimes called “decentralized” studies because participants do not have to go to a central study location or medical office and can participate remotely, from where they are. 

Infographic comparing traditional health research to decentralized health research

What do health research studies look like?

Different types of research can be used to answer different questions. The diagram below explains some of the different kinds of research. We'll talk more about the specific types of studies we do at Evidation (formerly Achievement) Studies in a future Research 101 post.

Infographic comparing an observational study to a clinical trial

Who participates in health research studies?

The most important part of health research is the study participants. Study participants are volunteers who consent (in other words, give their permission) to be in a study. They provide data through surveys, labs, assessments, and other study activities, which help researchers answer their research questions. 

Study participants are crucial to the success of a study and the future of healthcare and medicine. Without study volunteers, there is no study. And with no studies, there are no improvements to healthcare.

Where can I learn more about how to participate?

The Evidation app is great for managing your health and for offering you opportunities to participate in research. is a registry of clinical trials that provides the public with information on past and current trials.

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about health research and how it can make a difference for you and the world around you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at

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