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Resources for Designing Research (OHMR)


Research engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Quick Guide on Undertaking Appropriate Aboriginal Health Research

This quick guide provides advice for health professionals and researchers undertaking research in NSW Health facilities with a focus on Aboriginal1 people, including where Aboriginal people are considered as part of a broader study population. The purpose of the guide is to increase awareness of the appropriate principles, approaches and processes required to ensure that research projects are ethical and beneficial for Aboriginal people and communities. This includes supporting researchers to consider when and how to seek ethical approval for research conducted with Aboriginal people or communities.

Conducting Translational Research with Aboriginal Communities on People

This document has been developed for health professionals who wish to apply for NSW Health mainstream research grants, such as the Translational Research Grants Scheme (TRGS) and Cardiovascular Research Capacity Program grants.

This document includes useful recommendations for strengthening translational research projects that have an identified focus on Aboriginal health. The document will benefit those who have had limited or no prior experience in conducting research in a way that is appropriate and beneficial for Aboriginal people. It will also be of use for more experienced researchers as a reminder of values and processes to uphold when conducting research. The document addresses research projects that:
are focused entirely on Aboriginal people
have a broader population focus which includes Aboriginal people, or
are based in a region where there is a large Aboriginal population.

NSW Aboriginal Health Impact Statement

NSW Health is committed to Closing the Gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Health Impact Statement forms part of a broader set of strategies to achieve this. A culturally respectful and responsive health system is essential to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people and every employee of the NSW Health system has a valuable role to play.

The purpose of the Aboriginal Health Impact Statement is to support NSW Health organisations and staff to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal people by systematically applying an ‘Aboriginal health lens’ to all policies, programs and strategies. 

Program Logic

Developing and Using Program Logic: A Guide

A program logic model is a schematic representation that describes how a program is intended to work by linking activities with outputs, intermediate impacts and longer term outcomes. Program logic aims to show the intended causal links for a program.

This guide has been developed to support NSW Health staff in the development of program logic and its use in informing population health program planning, implementation and evaluation. This guide promotes a planned and structured approach to developing program logic and includes information on:
the meaning and purpose of program logic
when and how to develop program logic
how program logic can be used, with a particular focus on planning an evaluation.

 Increasing the Scale of Population Health Interventions

To achieve population-wide health improvements, population health interventions found to be effective in a research setting need to be implemented as widely as possible. This involves a change of scale or a scaling up of the intervention. Scaling up such interventions is necessary to ensure the target population has access to the most effective services and programs available, however not all interventions shown to be effective in a research setting are suitable for scaling up. 

The scalability of an intervention is not only determined by its effectiveness but other key issues such as the likely reach and adoption of the intervention, the costs of operating at scale, and the acceptability and fit of the intervention with the local context. It is important that attention is paid to the scalability of an intervention, so resources are allocated to interventions that are more likely to be successfully scaled up, and therefore more likely to have an impact on the health of the population as a whole.

This guide seeks to address these issues by describing a step-by-step process that includes both an assessment of the scalability of an intervention and a description of how to proceed with scaling up in order to have the greatest chance of success.

Translational Research

An Introduction to Translational Research

Translational research builds understanding about whether and how innovations can work in the real world and on a large scale. It aims to accelerate how quickly health and medical research findings can improve the healthcare system, patient outcomes and population health. 

This resource has been designed to introduce health professionals, including clinicians, practitioners, managers and policy makers, to translational research.
It will help you understand:
The NSW Health view of translational research
The unique contribution translational research can make to improving health
The different types of translational research and the translational research continuum
Where a research project might fit on the translational research continuum
How to turn an interesting idea into a translational research project
How NSW Health promotes, funds and prioritises translational research
The key considerations when designing your translational research project – tailored for each phase
        along the translational research continuum
When and where to seek further information or advice

This resource is introductory and will help you think critically about the things you’ll need to consider and suggests where you can get additional support.

Translational Research Framework

This guide has been developed for health professionals applying for the Translational Research Grants Scheme (TRGS) who may have limited research experience, but may also be useful for more experienced researchers as a structured reminder of the range of issues that will be taken into account in the screening and assessment of proposals. The guide will assist you in refining research questions, and identifying feasible research methods to answer these questions. An application is more likely to be successful if the expected outcomes are clearly defined, those outcomes are being measured accurately and the research design fits the research questions.

This guide provides a number of prompts to help identify the steps you need to take to:
demonstrate that a health service, program or policy innovation works
understand the conditions under which it was successful (or unsuccessful)
where appropriate, identify how to scale up an innovation for greatest impact.

This guide can be used as a tool to help you critically think about where projects may fit on the translational research continuum, and with this in mind, how best to refine your research question and methods.

Translational Research Framework: Source Book

This Source Book is a companion to the Translational Research Framework. It provides some additional information that might be useful when planning your research.

This Source Book includes:
more information about types of research design, and control groups
a tool to help you start thinking about the kinds of research designs that might work for your project
a brief summary of ethical considerations, with a link to the NHMRC national guidelines that are
        worth reviewing when you are preparing your applications
a summary of methods for measuring and assessing costs and conducting economic analysis
a glossary of terms used in both the framework and this source book

Program Evaluation

Commission Evaluation Services: A Guide

Evaluations are commonly undertaken to measure the impacts and outcomes of a program, and to reflect on its processes. Evaluation can be defined as a rigorous, systematic and objective process to assess a program’s effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness, and sustainability. This guide has been developed to support NSW Health staff in the commissioning of population health program evaluations.

This guide to commissioning evaluation services complements the NSW Government Program Evaluation Guidelines and Toolkit. It promotes a proactive, planned and structured approach to commissioning evaluations, including information on when and how to commission an evaluation and how to make the most of the results. 

The guide is framed specifically in relation to the health context, and it focuses on commissioning an external evaluator. The guide may be used to assist NSW Health staff in developing a complete evaluation plan, or in drafting an evaluation plan to which a contracted evaluator can add value.

Research Partnership Tools

The Sax Institute has developed a suite of research partnership tools. The resource has been created to assist policy makers and practitioners in the sometimes challenging process of initiating and sustaining a successful evidence generation partnership.

These tools are available on the 


AH&MRC HREC Software - Submittable

The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) is changing the way it does business. Today marks the launch of the new AH&MRC Ethics software Submittable. The HREC  is putting researchers in control of their application. As a researcher, you are now able to see what meeting your application is going to and be able to monitor the progress of your application. Best of all, you can submit documents as they are updated directly into your file.

Submittable is a portal-based system whereby applicants can monitor and maintain files they submit to the AH&MRC HREC. In order to submit an application simply click ‘Apply Now’ on the meeting you would like to submit to.

The Submittable portal is now open. It is optional for researchers to use Submittable for the October 2019 HREC Meeting, after which applicants will be required to use the portal. We encourage applicants to start using the portal as early as possible. Using the Submittable portal will ensure your application file is saved on our database and help streamline the HREC Application Process.

Check out Submittables cool features here: Submittable

For further information please contact the AH&MRC Ethics team at

AH&MRC Ethical Guidelines: Key Principles 2020

The Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) Human Research Ethics Committee would like to introduce the updated version of the AH&MRC Ethical Guidelines: Key Principles (2020)

The purpose of this document is to ensure that research that affects Aboriginal people and communities is done in a culturally appropriate way, involves and considers the people that it affects. Use of this guideline is required by researchers who are planning to submit an Ethics application for review by the AH&MRC Ethics Committee:  

Notable changes to this document include:

  • Clarification on the expectations of researchers under the Five Key Principles 
  • Further information on the requirements of Aboriginal Governance:
     o Aboriginal Reference Groups
     o Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
     o Aboriginal Researchers

  • Links between the expectations of the AH&MRC HREC and the NHMRC 
  • Updated checklist for submission requirements

Find the updated guidelines here: 


ClinTrial Refer App

ClinTrial Refer is a Mobile App platform to help connect patients, clinicians and clinical trial units across various clinical settings. Because the data comes directly from the participating units, it is current and comprehensive. It is easy to identify suitable trials for your patient. The collaboration amongst network clinicians in reciprocal cross referral enhances your patients' access to emerging therapies through clinical trial participation.

The reliable scientific method to take discoveries from the laboratory bench to the bedside is testing the safety and efficacy of these new interventions in clinical trials -- research studies that test new methods of prevention, detection, screening and treatment of diseases. Clinical Research Trials often offer a crucial treatment alternative for patients to access new therapeutic options.

ClinTrial Refer is free to download and easy to use, both in clinic and the multidisciplinary team settings.

You can access the app at


Consumer Involvement and Engagement Toolkit

During the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) Conference held in Sydney from 3-5 October 2019, the Consumer Involvement and Engagement Toolkit (The toolkit) was launched.

The toolkit is a joint initiative between the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) and Clinical Trials: Quality & Impact (CT:IQ). It was developed by a working group of end-users (researchers, research organisation representatives, and consumers) who ratified content and endorsed the definitions and acronyms used throughout.  

The Toolkit provides practical advice for oAboriginal Reference Groupsesearchers and research organisations wishing to conduct patient-centred clinical trials. Through the use of an interactive map, the Toolkit provides guidance and tools to help plan, deliver, evaluate and report consumer and community involvement and engagement activities. The Toolkit’s focus is clinical trials, however, much of the content is relevant to other types of health research.

The Toolkit also contains a small but growing collection of dedicated resources for consumers and the community, that provide insights into what it means to become ‘involved’ in research and to increase awareness around the role and value of clinical trials.

As a platform for the sharing of information and tools, the Toolkit aims to improve public awareness and understanding of clinical trials so that consumers and the community are better equipped to influence the clinical trial agenda.

Click here to access the toolkit.


Educational Resources

 NSW Health & Medical Research have educational resources available to help design your research study, analyse your research data, translate your research findings and commercialise your research idea.

Click here to access the resources.


Preparing a Grant Application

Grants and awards are competitive and include rigorous selection criteria that are generally reviewed by an independent assessment panel. In order to make sure you put forward the best application possible here are some useful resources to support you in this process.

General resources to support you preparing a grant application

Grants Hub Resources


Writing Great Abstracts

Abstracts are powerful ‘short stories’ that are used in journal articles and conference presentations. An abstract will help reviewers to decide whether to accept your paper, conference abstract or grant application, and help readers to decide whether to read your paper or attend your presentation.

Click here for a useful fact sheet to help you prepare a great abstract.