Evidence into practice: protocol for a new mixed-methods approach to explore the relationship between trials evidence and clinical practice through systematic identification and analysis of articles citing randomised controlled trials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

1 Citation (Scopus)
255 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) provide high-quality evidence to inform practice. However, much routine care is not based on available RCT evidence. Understanding this disconnect may improve trial design, reporting and implementation. Published literature commenting on RCTs may yield relevant insights. This protocol presents a new approach examining how researchers understand, contextualise and use evidence from RCTs, through analysis of letters, editorials and discussion pieces citing individual RCTs. Surgical case studies will illustrate its ability to identify wide-ranging factors influencing application of trials evidence.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS:
In-depth study of published literature will explore written responses to RCTs. After purposefully selecting individual RCTs, we will systematically identify all citing articles covered in Web of Science and Scopus. Editorials, discussions and letters will be included. These are considered most likely to provide critiques and opinions about index RCTs. Original articles and reviews will be excluded. Clinical specialty, RCT design, outcomes and bibliographical data will be collected for RCTs and citing articles. Citing articles will be thematically analysed using the constant comparison technique to explore author understanding, contextualisation and relationship to clinical practice for the index trial. Coding will include generic issues relevant to all RCTs, such as sample size or blinding, and features specific to surgery, such as learning curve. Index trial quality will be examined using validated tools. Results will be combined to create a broad overview of the understanding and use of RCT evidence.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:
This study involves secondary use of existing articles and does not require ethical approval. Pilot work will establish its feasibility and inform progression to larger scale utilisation across a broad range of RCTs. Findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at surgical and methodological conferences. Results will guide future work on trial design to optimise implementation of results.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere023215
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Open
Volume8
Issue number11
Early online date8 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research

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