people with stroke

Methods and impact of involving people with stroke in systematic reviews

Project reference number: HLSLTC0017


It is now widely accepted that the active involvement of people with a healthcare condition, their families, friends and carers, and other stakeholders, including health professionals, health decision makers and funders are beneficial to the quality, relevance and impact of health research. Accordingly, many funding bodies, including government and charities, internationally, now mandate that researchers actively involve patients and the public in their research, including systematic reviews. However, there is a lack of consensus about how people should be involved in the planning, preparation and dissemination of systematic reviews, and the impact that this involvement has. We recently completed a review of evidence and identified a range of ways in which people have been involved in systematic reviews, and summarised these within a learning resource (‘Involving People’

Stroke is the single most common cause of severe disability in the world. Research, including systematic reviews, relating to stroke is, therefore, a priority, and consequently involving people with stroke in this research is important. However, people with stroke often have a wide range of impairments and disabilities, including aphasia, visual impairment, cognitive and mobility problems, which create barriers to participation in activities and events. There are therefore many challenges to ensuring effective involvement of people with stroke in research, including systematic reviews.


This PhD will aim to:

  • Evaluate and compare the processes and impact of two different approaches to involvement of people with stroke in a systematic review. One approach will involve an ‘open’ group and one a ‘closed’ group. The approaches will be compared by involving people in a two linked systematic reviews (electrostimulation for upper limb recovery; electrostimulation of lower limb recovery), which will both contribute to an update of a Cochrane systematic review of electrostimulation for stroke (Electrostimulation for promoting recovery of movement or functional ability after stroke).
  • Explore the experiences of the people involved, and identify barriers and facilitators to involvement of people with stroke in systematic reviews.

Application deadline

The application deadline for October intake is 1st of July.

Research supervisors

Candidates are encouraged to contact the following researchers for further details:

Modes of study

This project is available as a:

  • PhD: 3 years full-time or 4.5 years part-time.
  • 1 + 3 route to PhD: Undertaking MRes [1 year full-time or 2 years part-time] + PhD as above


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Specific requirements of the project

The successful applicant will hold a degree the minimum of a first degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject. Experience of completing systematic review(s) is essential. Previous experience of patient and public involvement in research is desirable. Knowledge of electrostimulation and stroke rehabilitation is desirable.