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Meeting the challenges of implementing process evaluation within randomized controlled trials: the example of ASSIST (A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial)

Audrey, Suzanne, Holliday, Joanne, Parry-Langdon, Nina and Campbell, Rona 2006. Meeting the challenges of implementing process evaluation within randomized controlled trials: the example of ASSIST (A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial). Health Education Research 21 (3) , pp. 366-377. 10.1093/her/cyl029

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Abstract

It is increasingly argued that the effectiveness of health promotion interventions should be measured to inform policy and practice. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) continues to be regarded as the ‘gold standard’ of health services research but health promotion practitioners have raised concerns about the RCT's appropriateness for evaluating their work. A preferred model is currently the pragmatic trial, measuring effectiveness under ‘routine’ conditions, incorporating a process evaluation to examine context, implementation and receipt. This model was chosen by A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial (ASSIST) to evaluate an intervention in which influential Year 8 students (12–13 years old) were trained to encourage non-smoking behaviour through informal conversations with their peers. Outcome data show that the intervention was effective in reducing smoking levels in intervention schools compared with control schools. In this paper we describe the extensive process evaluation embedded within the trial and, rather than focusing on resultant data, we consider the potential for such detailed examination of process to affect the intervention's delivery, receipt and outcome evaluation. We describe how some acknowledged challenges were addressed within ASSIST, which have relevance for future similar trials: Hawthorne effects, overlapping roles within the team and distinguishing between the intervention and its evaluation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0268-1153
Funders: Medical Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:48
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/53716

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