In financial terms an Audit refers to a formal inspection of a system or set of accounts. Clinical audit is more specific and refers to a repeated cycle of setting a target for a clinical system, collecting data, assessing against the target and making changes if the findings fall short of the target and then repeating the cycle. The distinction from research should be clear: audit checks what we are doing within a specific location only expecting some generalisability to the future; research is more general: a systematic investigation that seeks new knowledge that may be more widely generalisable. In general the audience for audit is local and that for research is general.
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