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Effects of study design and allocation on participant behaviour-ESDA: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Kypri, K., McCambridge, J., Wilson, A., Attia, J., Sheeran, P., Bowe, S. and Vater, T. (2011) Effects of study design and allocation on participant behaviour-ESDA: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials , 12. Art no.42. ISSN 1745-6215

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Abstract

Background: What study participants think about the nature of a study has been hypothesised to affect subsequent behaviour and to potentially bias study findings. In this trial we examine the impact of awareness of study design and allocation on participant drinking behaviour.

Methods/Design: A three-arm parallel group randomised controlled trial design will be used. All recruitment, screening, randomisation, and follow-up will be conducted on-line among university students. Participants who indicate a hazardous level of alcohol consumption will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. Group A will be informed their drinking will be assessed at baseline and again in one month (as in a cohort study design). Group B will be told the study is an intervention trial and they are in the control group. Group C will be told the study is an intervention trial and they are in the intervention group. All will receive exactly the same brief educational material to read. After one month, alcohol intake for the past 4 weeks will be assessed.

Discussion: The experimental manipulations address subtle and previously unexplored ways in which participant behaviour may be unwittingly influenced by standard practice in trials. Given the necessity of relying on self-reported outcome, it will not be possible to distinguish true behaviour change from reporting artefact. This does not matter in the present study, as any effects of awareness of study design or allocation involve bias that is not well understood. There has been little research on awareness effects, and our outcomes will provide an indication of the possible value of further studies of this type and inform hypothesis generation.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2011 Kypri et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Clinical-Trials; Hazardous Drinking
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2011 12:06
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2014 23:43
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1745-6215-12-42
Status: Published
Publisher: Biomed Central
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1186/1745-6215-12-42
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/42921

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