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Case study: Warrington research team making Be Part Of Research work for volunteers like Paul

We have spoken with Paul Dodd, one of our research participants. He has had such a positive experience that he wanted to share it with us.

Be Part of Research is an online service that makes it easy for you to find and take part in health and care research. The service helps people understand what research is, what it means to take part, as well as showing what research is currently happening across the UK. 

The site helps people make informed decisions about taking part in health and social care research - ensuring everyone has the opportunity to get involved. Through Be Part of Research, you can search for trials and studies taking place for health conditions that you are interested in, at locations that are easy for you to get to. 

This service is now available via the NHS app in England. You can sign-up for a free Be Part of Research account and choose the areas of health and care research that you are interested in taking part in. You will then be matched to suitable studies and sent information on how to take part.

We have spoken with Paul Dodd, one of our patients who has taken part in the Moderna vaccine study at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals. Paul works for the NHS and has had such a positive experience taking part in research that he wanted to share it with us. We asked Paul the following questions:

How did you hear about this study? I joined the NIHR ‘Be part of research’ volunteer program. It easily allows you to take part in a range of Health and Social care research opportunities. Imagine it like a quick and easy online speed dating platform - but for research! You can choose your interest areas and they kindly match you up to any approved studies that you could volunteer for.

Why did you take part in this study? Over the most intensive period of the Covid pandemic, I was privileged enough to see first-hand the efforts that everyone in the NHS (both strategically and operationally at system, service, and individual level) committed to dealing with the crisis that was unfolding. From a personal level as a carer for elderly parents and a father, the overriding instinct was to keep people safe without losing connectivity. Colleagues at work lost people close to them during the first waves of Covid, and my family (As many others sadly) experienced family loss. I suppose the ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ elements combined at some point post Covid into a desire to actively do something to help prevent, or at least mitigate, the potential impact of future waves on people and communities by supporting the continuing research into effective and safe vaccines. It’s a great way to give something back and embodies the corporate responsibility that the vast majority of NHS staff feel. Most of all, it just felt the right thing to do.

Please share more about your experience - what was involved, where did you have to go etc.

It can be a bit daunting taking the first steps to be involved in a clinical trial. However, the medical staff at Warrington and Halton Hospital did a fantastic job of contacting me and speaking with me before the first visit regarding what to expect and confirmation of eligibility to the study. They also helped with the practical stuff like car parking arrangements and directions. On the first visit you get a thorough exploration of your medical history and screening regarding suitability again, coupled with a clear explanation of any potential risks and side effects. You get a neat little card to keep in your wallet with the study details should you need to contact them at any point in time. They supported me to download an app that acted as a periodic diary and there were brief follow up phone calls and e-mails, as well as a few periodic visits over the year to take bloods. It was never less than a first-class experience.

Would you take part in research again? Absolutely! It was such a positive experience. I would almost turn the question on its head and ask, ‘Why wouldn’t you?’

What would you say to anybody else who is considering taking part in research? It supported my understanding of research, and the fact individual citizens can make a very real positive difference. Apart from role modelling NHS values…’s left me with a very real sense of value…..and that warm fuzzy sense of wellbeing that volunteering engenders.


For more information about taking part in research studies near you, browse the Be Part of Research website today.