WHAT IS your definition of clinical research? Unfortunately, the term means different things to different people. Some say it is a clinician doing research (whether in the lab or elsewhere). Others say it is any research involving humans, which might range from examining tissue specimens to performing psychoacoustic testing on normal subjects. Still others define clinical research as any research for which informed consent is necessary. However, from the point of view of the patient and the health care system, the most important form of clinical research is that aimed at improving treatment methods. Whether done in the clinic, at the bedside, or in the clinical research unit, research that focuses on the treatment of disease should be given a separate designation to distinguish it from other forms of clinical research. For now, let us call it treatment research.
Gates GA. Treatment Research in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999;125(12):1408-1409. doi:10.1001/archotol.125.12.1408