What does the research process look like from start to finish?

This guidance outlines how you can effectively plan your research and the areas that you will need to consider throughout your research project. 
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Planning your research is the most important part of the research process. It will help you to map out what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and when. 

To create your research plan, you can use this template research project planner and template research timeline and adapt it to suit your project needs. 

This resource is based on project planners used by local Healthwatch.

Research planner 

A research plan is a detailed description of the project purpose, aims and tasks involved in the project you are going to undertake.  

The template below is divided into sections that you will need to consider to create a good quality research plan. Each section lists helpful tips and prompts to help you fill out the relevant components of a research plan. 

Important things to consider: 

  • Background of your project 
  • Who you are talking to and how to collect information  
  • How you will analyse the information 
  • Resources you may need 
  • Any risks and how to mitigate them 
  • Partnership working (if relevant to your project) 
  • Quality assurance 
  • Dissemination of the work 
  • Evaluation of your project


Research planner

Research timeline 

It is useful to outline your project tasks and align them to a project timeline. This will help you and your project team to prioritise tasks, stick to deadlines and deliver work on time. 

The template timeline below outlines a number of stages that need to be considered in the research process. You can change the timings of your project to fit your own deadlines and how long you would like to spend on each task.

We’ve also included an example GANTT chart of how this would look, helping you understand how much time it takes to complete the different phases


Research timeline

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