The Quality Research in Dementia (QRD) programme, launched in 1999, aims to advance the understanding of dementia by matching our training programme to the real needs of people with dementia and their carers. QRD draws on the expertise of carers, people with dementia, researchers, care practitioners, doctors and scientists to initiate, fund and develop research into dementia.

We aim to identify the learning and development needs of people with dementia and their carers and provide training and materials to ensure they have the skills they would need to actively participate in the Quality Research in Dementia (QRD) Advisory Network.

The contents of the workshop have been compiled following the results of a needs assessment exercise, and previous work with consumers.

The workshops are free and travel, carer costs, etc, are reimbursed.

Executive Summary

The aim of this project was to provide an effective and developmental training experience, for members of the Quality Research in Dementia (QRD) network, that focussed on the core skills needed for their involvement in the research commissioning process.

Three organisations were involved in this programme of work; the Alzheimer's Society, Critical Appraisal Skills Programme and the College of Health. As these organisations had not worked together before, this project was a development journey for the project team as well as the participants.

Utilising previously developed modules of learning; CASP and the College of Health put together a two-day training programme based on the results of a needs assessment exercise and guidance from the Alzheimer's Society. This consisted of two one-day workshops and the provision of resource folders for all participants. Both days were piloted and changes made to the content and delivery as a result of this process. The resource folder evolved over the lifetime of the project, with updates and enhancements being made regularly.

Seventeen workshops were delivered around England with a total of 82.5% of potential QRD members attending at least one workshop. It proved more difficult to get QRD members to attend paired workshops, but a significant number did. The workshops aimed to meet the following number of learning outcomes:

  • Identify issues and research priorities
  • Explain basic research methods and terms
  • Find evidence Apply critical appraisal skills
  • Apply enhanced communication skills
  • Be clear and confident in their role in QRD
  • Recognise what influences decision making
  • Be confident in using their knowledge and experience to influence research decisions
  • Identify appropriate support networks.

The evaluation of the project has been comprehensive, with different methods and perspectives utilised. The results are positive and encouraging. Participants particularly valued the sessions on research and research methods, especially where this related to their QRD role. The opportunity for sharing and networking, and the skill the trainers brought in creating a safe and non- threatening atmosphere, in which learning could take place, and experiences exchanged, was clearly valued. Themes identified in the evaluation results were reinforced, whether looking at qualitative information, quantitative data or anecdotal feedback.

The project team also learnt a substantive amount about collaborative working and how to be flexible in the planning, delivery and evaluation of a programme that was supporting the emerging process of QRD. The teams have subsequently successfully bid for further work in this area.

A second proposal has been developed by the project team to further extend this exciting and challenging work, this is on going for 2002.

For further information or to discuss commissioning a workshop please contact:

Public Health Resource Unit, Institute of Health Sciences, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF
Tel: ; Fax:
E-mail: