Dysarthria research: COS-Speech

Supporting research into dysarthria after stroke.


Dysarthria is when speech is less clear, becomes slurred or sounds different, and can happen after a stroke.

This can be distressing and have a major effect on confidence. The COS-speech study aims to identify core measures to support future dysarthria research.

There is little research into dysarthria after stroke, and existing studies all measure different things. To work out which treatments are best, research studies must all assess the same things. This is called a core outcome set (COS).

It is vital that this COS measures things that are important to people affected by dysarthria. To find out what aspects of speech recovery should be measured and how, we will ask for views from:

  • people affected by dysarthria after stroke
  • clinicians
  • researchers

The research team includes the HEARD (Healing, Empowered and Recovering from Dysarthria) group, who are acting as advisors and are helping to shape and manage the research.

COS-speech is a partnership between The University of Manchester and the University of Queensland, Australia, with funding from the NIHR and via a Stroke Association Fellowship.

Watch this short video to find out more about dysarthria and the COS-Speech study.



Information for participants

We have completed recruitment  to the COS-Speech study and would like to thank everyone who has completed round 1 of the survey.

We invited the following people from the UK and Australia to take part in our study:

  • people with dysarthria following a stroke
  • researchers with experience of communication (including dysarthria) after stroke
  • clinicians with experience of dysarthria after stroke

We wanted their views on how speech recovery after stroke should be measured. As part of this, they will complete two questionnaires rating which things they think are the most and least important to measure. The data from the questionnaire will be organised by a computer. We will then discuss this information at two workshops where we will agree what aspects of speech recovery should be measured and how. More information can be found in our participant information sheets:


Research team

Meet some of the people involved in our study:

Claire Mitchell

Claire MitchellStroke Association Research Fellow and Senior Clinical Lecturer

Claire is the Principal Investigator of this project. She has over 20 years’ experience as a clinical specialist speech and language therapist in adult acquired neurological conditions and is a senior clinical lecturer at The University of Manchester. Claire completed her PhD in 2017.

View Claire’s research profile

Audrey Bowen

Audrey BowenProfessor of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation,  The University of Manchester

Audrey leads the rehabilitation research theme at the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre. Her research aims to develop the evidence base for neurorehabilitation, specialising in cognitive and communication difficulties and patient and carer involvement.

View Audrey’s research profile


Paul Conroy

Paul ConroySenior Clinical Lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy

Paul’s research interests include assessment and treatment of acquired communication disabilities, including aphasia and dysarthria.

View Paul’s research profile

Jamie Kirkham

Jamie KirkhamProfessor of Biostatistics, The University of Manchester

Jamie’s role focuses on statistical and methodological research for clinical trials and systematic reviews. He has expertise in the field of core outcome set (COS) development and has led the production of key guidance documents to support the planning, development and reporting of COS studies. 

Visit Jamie’s research profile

Sarah Wallace

Sarah WallaceSenior Research Fellow

Sarah is a Lecturer in Speech Pathology at the University of Queensland, and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist. Her research interests include communication disability in ageing, and enabling and measuring meaningful change in language/communication impairment following stroke.

View Sarah’s research profile

Brooke-Mai Whelan

Brooke-Mai WhelanLecturer in Speech Pathology, the University of Queensland

Brooke-Mai is a Lecturer in Speech Pathology at the University of Queensland. Her research interests lie in the rehabilitation of speech disorders following brain injuries in adults.

View Brooke-Mai’s research profile

Kate Woodward-Nutt

Occupational therapist and project manager

Kate has over 20 years experience as a therapist and specialises in brain injury rehabilitation. Since moving to Manchester in 2012, she has supported a range of research studies.

HEARD (Healing, Empowered and Recovering from Dysarthria) group

Annette Dancer

Annette DancerAnnette became involved in dysarthria research after having a stroke in 2014.

She is a Research Advisor to Dr Claire Mitchell, providing a patient perspective for Claire’s research projects. She has presented alongside Claire at various stroke-related conferences in the UK, giving the patient perspective on dysarthria.

Annette has written blogs on dysarthria for Evidently Cochrane and featured in publicity campaigns for British Heart Foundation. She has been a member of HEARD since its inception.

Joe Bugler

Joe BuglerJoe has research and development  experience in industry working in diabetes, specifically on clinical trials and regulatory approval for different countries.

He previously worked as a Lab Technician in NHS hospitals in London.

Stephen Taylor

Stephen TaylorStephen is a writer and ex-council carer. Since his stroke in 2004, he has tried to make less of a nuisance of himself, with mixed results.

An illustration of people sat at different windows in a building.


Project timeline

See all of the key milestones for the COS-Speech study so far, and when we expect to complete the remaining stages of the project.

March 2022

Ethics approval was obtained from The University of Manchester, UK.

April/May 2022

Video about the project was developed with the HEARD group.

May/June 2022

We finalised the longlist of questions for the survey with the HEARD group and members of the research team. The website was finalised and the video of the project was launched.

Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Queensland, Australia.

July and August 2022

We invited people with first-hand experience of dysarthria after stroke, researchers and speech and language therapists/pathologists to take part in the study.

They completed round 1 of the survey, following which we met the recruitment targets of 25 people from each group, with participants from the UK and Australia.

September 2022

We will analyse the data and set up the questions for round 2 of the survey.

October and November 2022

We will invite participants to complete the second round of the survey.

December 2022

We will analyse the data from the second round.

January and February 2023

We will conduct two consensus meetings to decide on the Core Outcome Set and how these outcomes should be measured.

March to May 2023

We will write a report and produce a video summarising the findings from the study to share with participants and with other stroke survivors, clinicians and researchers.

We will also share this information through presentations at conferences and meetings.


News and updates

See updates on our research in our blog.

Contact us

Please contact us if you would like to join the study, or if you have any questions.

Claire Mitchell (Principal Investigator)
Email: cosspeech@manchester.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @DysarthriaLife


This project is funded by the NIHR RfPG 202748. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.




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