Introducing ResearchKit

ResearchKit is an open source framework introduced by Apple that allows researchers and developers to create powerful apps for medical research. Easily create visual consent flows, real-time dynamic active tasks, and surveys using a variety of customizable modules that you can build upon and share with the community. And since ResearchKit works seamlessly with HealthKit, researchers can access even more relevant data for their studies — like daily step counts, calorie use, and heart rate.


The core ResearchKit framework offers core modules that include a survey engine, visual consent flow, and active tasks.

The core framework comes with Swift and Objective-C examples, and full conceptual and API documentation. It has also been localized to many languages.


Using ResearchKit

A task in ResearchKit contains a set of steps to present to a user. Everything, whether the visual consent flow, surveys, or active tasks, is represented as a task that can be presented with a task view controller.

  • Build surveys for modal presentation on an iOS device.
  • Use customizable visual consent templates to explain the details of your study and obtain a signature from the participant. Be sure to get your visual consent flow approved by your institutional review board (IRB) or ethics committee.
  • Use active tasks to invite users to perform activities under semi-controlled conditions, using iPhone sensors to collect data.

Back End Services

The ResearchKit framework does not include a data management solution. The framework can be used with a data management solution of your choice. When choosing a backend service for your research application, consider the provider’s data privacy and security practices. For more information, see the ResearchKit framework best practices.

ResearchKit Tutorials

These tutorials, along with the ResearchKit documentation, will help you get up and running fast. Please note that these tutorials are authored by members of the ResearchKit community and Apple does not endorse or make any representations as to the accuracy of the content.

ResearchKit SampleCode

The ResearchKit framework comes with two sample apps located in the samples folder: ORKSample and ORKCatalog.

The ORKSample app demonstrates how to use the main features of ResearchKit — informed consent, surveys, active tasks, account creation, and passcode pin entry — and also shows how to architect a research app to ensure a great user experience. You can quickly prototype research ideas by modifying the sample app.

ORKSample has:

  • Placeholder pages for providing a preview of the study
  • A dashboard page for displaying results to participants
  • A profile page that shows key user data as well as providing an easy-to-access link for withdrawing from a study
  • An activities page that provides a list of all the study tasks

ORKCatalog shows how to:

  • Construct a task
  • Present a task view controller
  • Handle the delegate callbacks from the task view controller
  • Access the structure of the results collected by the task

ResearchKit and the ResearchKit logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.

Trademark Information

Apple, the Apple logo and other Apple trademarks, service marks, graphics, and logos used in connection with the ResearchKit project are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the US and/or other countries. Other trademarks, service marks, graphics, and logos used in connection with the ResearchKit project may be the trademarks of their respective owners. You are granted no right or license in any of the aforesaid trademarks, and further agree that you shall not remove, obscure, or alter any proprietary notices (including trademark and copyright notices) that may be affixed to or contained within the Service. You may use the ResearchKit mark in order to indicate that your product uses or is compatible with the ResearchKit software (for example, “for use with,” “for,” or “compatible with" ResearchKit) provided that:

  1. The product does in fact use ResearchKit software developed by the open source project;
  2. The ResearchKit mark stands apart from your brand or trademark (e.g., as in “ResearchKit for Chromium")
  3. You do not seek to register a trademark containing ResearchKit or the ResearchKit logo; and
  4. You do not state or imply in any way that Apple endorses, sponsors or guarantees your product, or was involved in or associated with its development.

For further information about proper referential uses of the mark ResearchKit and the ResearchKit logo, please review the “Guidelines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights”.