GUidance for Exploratory STudies of complex public health interventions (the GUEST study)
In developing new guidance, our study will examine current practice and expert consensus in relation to uncertainties that should be addressed prior to full evaluations of complex public health interventions, methodological considerations in addressing these uncertainties and decision-making regarding whether and how to progress to evaluation of effectiveness following the conduct of an exploratory study.
The guidance is being developed through activities which include:
- a systematic review of guidance on exploratory studies
- an audit of current practice
- a web-based DELPHI exercise to identify expert consensus on the purpose, design and conduct of exploratory studies involving consultation with stakeholders, and
- a horizon scan of novel approaches to intervention optimisation and exploratory study designs from other contexts within and outside health research.
Guidance will not be limited to exploratory studies of a specific design and will assist researchers in public health to more efficiently and effectively develop and conduct exploratory studies, while providing peer reviewers and research funders with objective criteria against which to assess the quality of bids and publications.