Research in primary dental care Part 5: Devising a proposal, obtaining funding and ethical considerations

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In previous articles, we have considered how to formulate a research question and choose an appropriate methodological approach to answer that question, including the use of evidence-based research instruments or measurement scales. In this article, we put this information together in the form of a research proposal and consider how to obtain funding for the research project, as well as fulfil ethical requirements.

Key Points

  • This paper describes three important practical components of the research process: devising a research proposal, seeking external funding for the research and obtaining ethical approval for your proposed study.

  • The research proposal provides a justification for and summary of the proposed study. This paper gives an outline of the information required for the proposal.

  • Brief details on how to obtain research funding are given, together with advice on resources for practitioners seeking to support their research through external funding.

  • An overview of the requirements for research ethics and governance is provided, and a list of resources provided to guide the reader in obtaining ethical approval and research governance.

Key Points

Research in primary dental care

  1. 1

    Setting the scene

  2. 2

    Developing a research question

  3. 3

    Designing your study

  4. 4


  5. 5

    Devising a proposal, obtaining funding and ethical considerations

  6. 6

    Data analysis

  7. 7

    Writing up your research

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Figure 1


  1. 1

    Bowling A . Research methods in health: investigating health and health sciences. Buckingham: Open University Press, 2002.

  2. 2

    Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust. Design of the research proposal. Available from:[accessed 2.8.03]

  3. 3

    Batchelor P, Ireland B . Research in General Dental Practice - Budgeting and Financing. London: Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK), 1998.

  4. 4

    The Central Office for Research Ethics Committees. When you need ethical approval. Available from [accessed 2.8.03]

  5. 5

    Department of Health. Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care. London: HMSO, 2001.

  6. 6

    Her Majesty's Stationary Office. Data Protection Act 1998. London: HMSO, 1998.

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Author information

Correspondence to J T Newton.

Additional information

Refereed Paper

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Bower, E., Newton, J. & Williams, A. Research in primary dental care Part 5: Devising a proposal, obtaining funding and ethical considerations. Br Dent J 197, 17–19 (2004) doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.4811411

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