Solutions focused research
Better methods for better health
Our research aims to promote the better conduct and reporting of health research ultimately leading to enhanced population health and wellbeing.
Prof Rod Taylor (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
School of Health and Wellbeing research theme
Related University of Glasgow beacon
Research into the methods used in the design, conduct, analysis, reporting and synthesis of health research is essential to ensure that effective methods are available and that decisions made using results from studies are based on the best available evidence, which is reliable and robust. Inefficiencies in the conduct of health research may lead to wasted resources, to a delay in the research, or to the research failing to complete or to answer policy questions that address health.
Research in our institute has driven the prominence and importance of methodological research. This is exemplified by the framework for complex interventions which has been fundamental in shaping the development and evaluation of complex interventions internationally and has been formally adopted by number of research funding and policy agencies including National Institute of Health & Care Research (NIHR). Other ongoing areas of methodological research led by Glasgow include CONSORT-SURROGATE & SPIRIT-SURROGATE, ADAPT, SWiM, and public health trials methods.
Glasgow led the development of the new UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and NIHR framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions first published in 2000 and revised in 2006. The new framework published in 2021 takes account of recent developments in theory and methods and the need to maximise the efficiency, use, and impact of research. Glasgow is now also leading the update of the MRC natural experiments guidance with funding from both MRC and NIHR. Glasgow is also leading the MRC Better Methods, Better Research funded project CONSORT/SPIRIT-SURROGATE to publish extensions to CONSORT/SPIRIT guidance for RCTs using surrogate endpoints in Q4 2023.
The press release of the 2021 complex intervention framework update included the following comments:
Prof Nick Wareham, Chair of MRC’s Population Health Sciences Group said:
"Previous versions of the guidance on the development and evaluation of complex interventions have been extremely influential and are widely used in the field. We are delighted that the successful partnership between MRC and NIHR has enabled the guidance to be updated and extended. It is particularly important to see how the new framework brings in thinking about the interplay between an intervention and the context in which it is applied."
Prof Hywel Williams, NIHR Scientific and Coordinating Centre Programmes Contracts Advisor said:
"This updated framework is a landmark piece of guidance for researchers working on such interventions. The updated guidance will help researchers to develop testable and reproducible interventions that will ultimately benefit NHS patients. The guidance also represents a terrific collaborative effort between the NIHR and MRC that I would like to see more of."
The guidance has already received 71 citations and it was only published at end of last year and it’s in the top 5% in altimetric of all research outputs, scoring higher than 98% of its peers in BMJ.
A series of short courses on the new framework is being rolled out for UK and international researchers.
- Prof Laurence Moore (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Prof Sharon Simpson (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Dr Kathryn Skivington (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Dr Kathleen Boyd (Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment)
- Prof Peter Craig (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Prof Emma McIntosh (Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment)
- Prof Rod Taylor (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Prof Jim Lewsey (Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment)
- Dr Manuela Deidda (Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment)
- Mhairi Campbell (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Prof Ruth Dundas (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Prof Vittal Katikireddi (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
- Dr Hilary Thompson (MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit)
Related publications and other URLs
MRC/NIHR development and evaluation of complex interventions
- Craig P, Dieppe P, Macintyre S, et al. Developing and evaluating complex interventions: the new Medical Research Council guidance. BMJ. 2008 337:a1655.
- Skivington K, Matthews L, Simpson SA, Craig P, Baird J, Blazeby JM, Boyd KA, Craig N, French DP, McIntosh E, Petticrew M, Rycroft-Malone J, White M, Moore L. A new framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions: update of Medical Research Council guidance. BMJ. 2021 Sep 30;374:n206.
- Skivington K, Matthews L, Simpson SA, Craig P, Baird J, Blazeby JM, Boyd KA, Craig N, French DP, McIntosh E, Petticrew M, Rycroft-Malone J, White M, Moore L. Framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions: gap analysis, workshop and consultation-informed update. Health Technol Assess. 2021 Sep;25(57):1-132.
CONSORT-SURROGATE & SPIRIT-SURROGATE
- Reporting guidelines under development for clinical trials protocols
- Ciani O, Buyse M, Drummond M, Rasi G, Saad ED, Taylor RS. Time to Review the Role of Surrogate End Points in Health Policy: State of the Art and the Way Forward. Value Health. 2017 Mar;20(3):487-495.
- Rhiannon Emily Evans, Graham Moore, Ani Movsisyan, Eva Rehfuess, ADAPT Panel. How can we adapt complex population health interventions for new contexts? Progressing debates and research priorities. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2021 Jan;75(1):40-45.
- Mhairi Campbell, Graham Moore, Rhiannon E Evans, Dmitry Khodyakov, Peter Craig, ADAPT Study team ADAPT study: adaptation of evidence-informed complex population health interventions for implementation and/or re-evaluation in new contexts: protocol for a Delphi consensus exercise to develop guidance. BMJ Open. 2020 Jul 20;10(7):e038965.
Public health trial methods
- David A Richards, Patricia Bazeley, Gunilla Borglin, Peter Craig et al. Integrating quantitative and qualitative data and findings when undertaking randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2019 Nov 26;9(11):e032081.
- Laurence Moore, Britt Hallingberg, Daniel Wight, Ruth Turley et al. Exploratory studies to inform full-scale evaluations of complex public health interventions: the need for guidance. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2018 Oct;72(10):865-866.
- Britt Hallingberg, Ruth Turley, Jeremy Segrott, Daniel Wight, Peter Craig et al. Exploratory studies to decide whether and how to proceed with full-scale evaluations of public health interventions: a systematic review of guidance. Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2018 May 28;4:104.
- Peter Craig, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, Alastair Leyland, Frank Popham. Natural Experiments: An Overview of Methods, Approaches, and Contributions to Public Health Intervention Research. Annu Rev Public Health. 2017 Mar 20;38:39-56.
- Craig P, Cooper C, Gunnell D, Haw S, Lawson K, Macintyre S, Ogilvie D, Petticrew M, Reeves B, Sutton M, Thompson S. Using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions: new Medical Research Council guidance. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2012 Dec;66(12):1182-6. doi: 10.1136/jech-2011-200375
- Craig P, Ruggiero ED, Frohlich KL, et al. Taking account of context in population health intervention research: guidance for producers, users and funders of research. NIHR Journals Library, 2018
Synthesis without meta-analysis (SWiM)
- Campbell M, McKenzie J E, Sowden A, Katikireddi S V, Brennan S E, Ellis S et al. Synthesis without meta-analysis (SWiM) in systematic reviews: reporting guideline BMJ 2020; 368 :l6890