Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions: new guidance

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 Acknowledgement: this project is jointly funded by the MRC and NIHR. The final guidance will be published in the NIHR Journals Library.

The MRC guidance on evaluating complex interventions was first published in 2000, and updated in 2006. Over this period, interest in complex interventions has grown rapidly, and more specialised guidance has been published or is being developed in several related areas. A number of other areas that were identified as gaps in the 2006 guidance - such as research priority-setting and the application of complex systems science to health interventions - have also attracted interest, but are not yet covered by accessible guidance for producers or users of evidence. Both the 2000 and 2006 core guidance documents continue to be highly cited, but given the pace and extent of methodological development, there is a need to update the core guidance, linking it with related developments, and also addressing some of the remaining weaknesses and gaps in the existing guidance.

We are leading on updating this guidance document. A multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Group oversees this work. Methods for developing the guidance include a formal gap analysis and the facilitation of a workshop, which will consult with field experts. The output from the project will be a long-version report and a shorter publication in a scientific journal.


  • 22nd March - 5th April 2019: Open consultation on a draft of the updated guidance (The consultation is now closed).
  • April 2019: Revision of the guidance document based on consultation feedback.
  • January 2020: Submission of final guidance document to NIHR for peer review.
  • Early Spring 2021: Publication of the new guidance.
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Morbidity and mortality among people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage

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