1. What is your research going to address?

The first consideration is what you would like to research. This is the process of setting your research question. A good pragmatic research study is one that tackles an unknown that you experience in your practice. Something that if you measured and understood could improve how you treat, manage, care or prevent a health care issue. It could be knowing if an intervention works, whether it is safe – or acceptable for the patients? An intervention can be a drug or vaccine or could be a public health measure or health education tool. It could even be a different way of training the care team, or how patients are referred and decisions are taken. Your study could consider using registered drugs for a different use or dosage, such as gaining evidence on dose and safety in children. Or perhaps they could explore perceptions the community have on a disease, medicines or vaccines. Your study could seek to understand and improve access to medicine and appropriate use, important for example in preventing and understanding the factors in anti-microbial resistance. Perhaps you would like to tackle how a disease could be diagnosed more quickly? Maybe you would like to gain evidence on whether a community-based intervention works in an area such as maternal care or mental health? There are so many practical question where addressing an unknown could give you the evidence to change outcome in this disease. These are the studies that are perfect for 1000 challenge and perfect for you and your colleagues to develop research skills and build your careers – but doing one of these important studies. You can do it and the 1000 challenge system will help you every step of the way.

2. Who are the Team who will take on the 1000 challenge?

The aim of the 1000 challenge is to support over 1000 healthcare workers to learn how to undertake a research study through the process of actually running a study. The benefit of taking part in this challenge is that it will train everyone on how to plan, design and undertake a study – and then make sure the findings can be turned into recommendations. This scheme is part of The Global Health Network’s role as a WHO collaborating centre. Through this we aim to address several sustainable development goals – and these will support your career, give you visibility and bring you leadership training and skills. All this will happen while you are working within your role and therefore this process should help your team, and your wider colleagues, by bringing research skills and systems into your health care setting.

So, the first step is for a group of health workers to come together and plan their study. This team can be any size – including just one if this is a small independent study that fits this scheme. Your team could be a group of nurses, midwives, community health workers or other allied health workers. It could be a mixture of different disciplines, so for example could be led or composed of social scientists or pharmacists, laboratory technicians, if your study involves any of their work. You can change your team as you develop your study plan.

3. Where you work and getting support for your study

Institutional support for research is a common barrier to research. Many care settings do not have experience or even awareness of the value that bringing in research could deliver to patient care. Therefore, the 1000 challenge will help your team approach your management team and set out why this research will be valuable and worthwhile for your patient and your organisation. This facility enables teams to undertake high quality studies, but it does not provide funding. Teams might already have funds as these studies could be part of a wider programme or collaboration. However, more typically the only costs associated with the study is the cost of the team’s time.  As these studies should be highly relevant and practical studies, that address a problem or gap then they should be of value to the organisations. The impact should be worth far beyond investment for the employer of their team’s time because of the benefit this research will bring to the patients and also in terms of career development through this workplace-based training and the experience of being directly supported in undertaking a study.

There is a template for helping set out a letter to request support for undertaking this research in your workplace. Further support and guidance can also be sought.

4. Taking your study through the study builder tool and getting help along the way

The study builder tool will take the team through the steps that you need to consider when you are developing your study plan. This will guide your protocol writing and also generate awareness and solutions on what operational steps you need to have a plan in place for. At every point specific training, resources and guidance is signposted to you. You will build up a record of the training you have taken and get certificates for each short course. Then, if further help is still needed you can request this from the global community of volunteers who are available to guide and advice on each step.

5. Running your study

This system takes you through the study as it progresses over time. You can come back and add and develop each step take further training, or find further guidance or resources. If you get stuck you can ask for help.

6. At the end of the study and getting your findings taken up

All studies should have a goal at the outset on what the intended use of the findings will be. How will your evidence be used to change practice, management, prevention, diagnosis or treatment? Guidance will be given at the start and at the end on this and how to think about it, and who you need to involve. Turning your evidence into usable tools for communicating your recommendations is part of this step.