This guide is for staff who work as research assistants, study coordinators, clinical research coordinators, and in similar positions in units conducting social, behavioral, translational or clinical research. You'll find resources on practice guidelines, regulatory compliance, continuing education, networking, and more.
What is clinical, behavioral, social, and translational research?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) gives these definitions:
"Clinical research is research that directly involves a particular person or group of people, or that uses materials from humans, such as their behavior or samples of their tissue. A clinical trial is one type of clinical research that follows a pre-defined plan or protocol." (NIH, 2012, Clinical Trials & Clinical Research)
"Behavioral and social sciences research helps predict, prevent, and manage illness---in individuals and in whole populations. This research also helps people change their behaviors, understand treatments, and learn how to stick with them. Society's role is significant, too: access to health care affects decision making and behavior." (NIH, n.d., About Behavioral and Social Sciences Research)
"Translation is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public — from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes. Translational science is the field of investigation focused on understanding the scientific and operational principles underlying each step of the translational process." (NIH, n.d., Research: Clinical and Translational Science)
We thank the UNC Network for Research Professionals Steering Committee for their inspiration to create this guide and for their input in its development. We also thank Robert Manzo and Antonia Caldwell (Health Sciences Library research assistants), and Mary White (NC TraCS Knowledge Management Librarian) for their work finding and organizing resources and designing the guide.