PhD Study

UniManchester

Study: EVALUATION OF A TOOL TO HELP PEOPLE APPRAISE SYMPTOMS AND DECIDE WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL HELP

This page is designed to give a brief overview of the PhD research project I am currently working on together with Professor Chris TodDr Simon Harper and Dr Caroline Jay. If you have heard about the study and are considering participating or if you would simply like to know a little more about my research, the information below will hopefully be helpful to you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. To view an academic abstract summarising the study, please click here. For more online psychology studies visit www.onlinepsychresearch.co.uk.

Jump to:

What is the purpose of the study?
Who can take part?
What will taking part involve?
What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?
What are the possible benefits of taking part?
How is confidentiality maintained?
What will happen if I do not want to carry on with the study?
What if I want to complain?
What will happen to the results of the study?
Who is funding the research?
Who has reviewed the study?
How can I take part?

 

What is the purpose of the study?

For certain symptoms that may be associated with more serious illnesses, such as lung cancer, it is especially important to provide clear and helpful information to help people decide when they need to see a doctor about their symptoms. We have therefore developed a tool to help people appraise their symptoms and to encourage people to see their GP if necessary. The aim of this study is to find out how people use this tool and whether it is effective. This tool is not designed to help you diagnose yourself. It will help you decide whether you need to see a GP about your symptoms. If this tool does suggest that you should see a GP, this does not necessarily mean that you have lung cancer. It just means it would be better to get your symptoms checked out.


Who can take part?

We are inviting anyone to participate who is above the age of 18, lives in the UK and is experiencing any of the symptoms listed below. We are also inviting those above the age of 18 and living in the UK who know anyone who has been experiencing any of the following symptoms, for the past few weeks:

  • A cough (whether dry and tickly or productive with phlegm)
  • A long-standing cough that changes or gets worse
  • Feeling out of breath
  • Discomfort in the chest, shoulder or back
  • Coughing up phlegm with a blood in it (even if just a few specks) / spitting blood
  • Changes in your voice
  • Unexplained weight loss or unexplained loss of appetite
  • Swelling of face and neck
  • Persistent / recurring chest infection
  • Tiredness or lack of energy
  • Any changes in the appearance of the fingers or fingernails (such as a softening of the nailbed, stronger than normal curving of the fingernails, or thickening of the fingertips so that the shape looks like an upside down spoon)

What will taking part involve?

The study will take place online. If you decide to take part, you will first be asked a few basic questions about yourself, or about the person who has been experiencing the symptoms. You will then be guided through the tool, which will provide information on symptoms and risk factors. In the end, you will receive advice on whether you should make an appointment to see your GP. Finally, you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire. Taking part in this study will take approximately 30-45 minutes. You will not be able to save the questionnaire and return to it at a later time so you will need to complete it in one go.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

It is not our aim to ask any questions or provide any information that might be upsetting or stressful to you. If there are any questions you do not wish to answer or you feel you want to withdraw from the study at any point, that is absolutely fine. If you feel distressed or worried after taking part in this study, it will most likely be best if you contact your GP and speak to your GP about your concerns. If you would like further support or advice, you can also call MacMillan Cancer support for free on 0808 808 00 00.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

We cannot promise the research will help you but you may find the information provided here useful in deciding whether you need to see a GP about your symptoms, or whether you should encourage someone else to see a GP.

How is confidentiality maintained?

All data will be stored securely at the University of Manchester. Any information collected about you during this study will be kept strictly confidential. Data from the questionnaires and interviews will be made anonymous, so your name will not be included. All data will be stored in an encrypted format so they can only be accessed with the correct password, to ensure only the research team can access the data. Data from the study will be kept for a minimum of 10 years after the date of any publication which is based upon it, to follow recommended good practice guidelines for research.

Study data and material may be looked at by individuals from the University of Manchester or from regulatory authorities, for monitoring and auditing purposes, and this may well include access to personal information.

What will happen if I do not want to carry on with the study?

You can withdraw from the study at any time without giving a reason. From the moment you withdraw, we will not collect any further data from you.

What if I want to complain?

If there is a problem, you may contact me (Julia) in the first instance or you can contact my supervisor Professor Chris Todd.

If there are any issues regarding this research that you would prefer not to discuss with me or my supervisor, please contact the Research Practice and Governance Co-ordinator by either writing to ‘The Research Practice and Governance Co-ordinator, Research Office, Christie Building, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL’, by emailing: research.complaints@manchester.ac.uk, or by telephoning 0161 275 7583 or 275 8093.

What will happen to the results of the study?

The data obtained will be analysed and written up as part of a PhD thesis. The data will also be summarised in the form of research articles which will be published in a scientific journal.

Who is funding the research?

This research is funded by the Medical Research Council.

Who has reviewed the study?

All research which involves NHS patients has to be reviewed by the National Health Service Research Ethics Committee (REC). Ethical approval for this study was granted by the Central Bristol REC.

How can I take part?

If you would like to participate in this research study, please visit the study link here. 

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