Last Update: 08/13/2008 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly   Email This Page Email This Page  

Clinical Research & Clinical Trials

What is clinical research?

Clinical research is research that either directly involves a particular person or group of people or uses materials from humans, such as their behavior or samples of their tissue, that can be linked to a particular living person. (The process of clinical research, however, protects personal data.)

The NIH definition of clinical research is:

  • Patient-oriented research: This type of research involves a particular person or group of people or uses materials from humans. This research can include:
    • Studies of mechanisms of human disease
    • Studies of therapies or interventions for disease
    • Clinical trials (see About clinical trials for more details)
    • Studies to develop new technology related to disease
  • Epidemiological and behavioral studies: These types of studies examine the distribution of disease, the factors that affect health, and how people make health-related decisions.
  • Outcomes and health services research: These studies seek to identify the most effective and most efficient interventions, treatments, and services.

The NICHD is involved with all aspects of clinical research and supports studies without limitations based on age, disease or condition, or technical type of research. What else should I know about clinical research? provides general information about clinical research, from getting involved, to what happens when a clinical research effort ends.

A clinical trial is one type of clinical research. Visit the About clinical trials section of this Web site for more specific information about clinical trials.

This Web site provides information about clinical research and the NICHD’s role in this research. Select a link below to learn more.