The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy


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Recruiting CSP members for research

Many areas of research benefit from the inclusion of CSP members either as participants, collaborators or to give expert opinion. Consider the following when recruiting physiotherapists for research.

Ethical considerations

Do you need ethical approval for your research?

  • Research involving health and social care staff does not require NHS ethical approval, but should undergo some form of independent ethical review
  • If you do need ethical approval for your research, you must obtain this before you begin recruiting
  • You do not need ethical approval in order to contact CSP members for an expert opinion, for example, in planning your research project

For information about when and how obtain ethical approval, see ethics and governance.


If you are inviting CSP members to be collaborators in your research, they should be involved in any ethics application and named on the application forms.

Planning for recruitment

You need to plan exactly how you will recruit participants, and include this in your application. You also need to include in the application exact wording for any recruitment information and a consent form.

Information for study participants

Information about your study should always indicate whether you have obtained ethical approval for the research, who from and the ethical approval number.

If you have not got ethical approval you should explain why it is not required.

Sample considerations

What sample do you need?

You should consider how many participants you need and your inclusion and exclusion criteria.  This will help determine the most effective ways of recruiting participants. 

For example, do you need CSP members who practise in a specific speciality, who have a specific amount of experience, or work in a specific geographical location?

Response rate considerations

CSP members receive a large number of requests to take part in research.  You will get a much better response rate if you can target those to whom the research is most relevant and most likely to be interested in your study. 

  • Keep information as clear and brief as possible and indicate what commitment is involved
  • Clearly articulate the benefits of the research and what participants will gain from it

Recruitment by e-mail and websites are quick and easy ways of reaching a large number of people. 

However, consider whether you will get a better response rate by a more personal approach in person, visiting physiotherapy departments and clinics, or attending meetings or CPD events. 

CSP resources and how they can be used

The CSP receives frequent requests to provide contact details for samples of CSP members. 

Under Data Protection legislation, the CSP is unable to provide members’ contact details. However, the CSP does facilitate involvement of its members in research by providing a variety of resources.

The information below offers guidance to both CSP members and non-members on ways of contacting CSP members.

interactive CSP

This is an online learning and networking resource for CSP members.  It offers a wide range of networks to which members can subscribe according to clinical and professional interests; for example, musculoskeletal, neurology, research, effective practice, public health, older people.

This is a very effective way of networking with members with specific areas of interest.

You can post information about research projects on the News section of a relevant network.

Please note the terms of service for using iCSP and the CSP website in relation to advertising and promoting research:

Term 15.5, section 3:

'Advertising participation in research projects and surveys - users are not permitted to either post or create links to clinical research questionnaires or surveys on the online communities.

'This is because recruitment to research projects or surveys and the information used to recruit participants may be subject to approval by an ethics panel and since we are unable to monitor the status of ethics' applications we cannot permit recruitment directly via our online communities.

'Members conducting research projects and surveys can upload a brief synopsis on the 'news' area of the appropriate online community. Members may also include their contact details and / or a link to a website which provides more information about the project.  

'The moderators of an online community will decide whether to approve the item for display on that community. Inclusion of any such request on an online community does not imply endorsement by us or any of our partners or moderators.

'It is the responsibility of each user to decide whether they wish to participate.'

CSP national and regional networks

The CSP has networks within England and in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Approaching these networks is an effective way of contacting members in a specific geographical location.

Allied Health Professions Research Network (AHPRN)

AHPRN is a network open to anyone interested in research related to the allied health professions.  It has 21 regional hubs within the UK and Republic of Ireland. 

The network offers an effective way of communicating with both clinicians and researchers.

CSP professional networks

There are approximately 40 professional networks affiliated to the CSP. These are specialist groups recognised by the CSP. They are self governing bodies responsible for their own finance and organisation.

The professional networks are particularly useful for contacting members with specific clinical interests.  The networks have a number of ways of communicating with their members, for example, dedicated websites and newsletters.

Many of the professional networks will facilitate involving their members in research. Each network has its own processes for doing this; therefore you should contact the relevant network(s) for advice.

CSP Researchers’ Directory

This is a networking tool hosted on the CSP website. The directory is an effective way of finding physiotherapy researchers for collaborative purposes or for expert opinion.

CSP members who have experience in a particular research area opt to be listed in the directory with details on their research interests and experience. Both members and non-members can search the directory and contact individuals listed in it.


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