My research aims to find new ways to help potential participants in clinical trials make decisions about whether or not to participate and to minimise the damaging consequences of people dropping out of trials. Clinical trials compare medical treatments to find out which work best. The treatments can range from a drug, to surgery, to a type of therapy (e.g. physiotherapy) and might be new but might also be in existing use.
The number of people needed in a trial is worked out in advance to make sure the trial is big enough so that it produces a sound scientific conclusion. If not enough people take part in a trial or a lot of people drop-out before it is finished, the trial conclusions may become unreliable or unusable. One way to mitigate against potential participant drop-out is to ensure participants make fully-informed decisions about trial participation, even if that decision is not to participate.
This research will report findings from a range of studies that aimed to explore and understand key aspects of the recruitment and retention process of clinical trials. Specifically, we will focus on the decision-making process for potential trial participants, from the point of initial approach and throughout their involvement with the trial, using a participant-centred perspective. These findings will lead to the development of new research, with the ultimate aim of maximising participant awareness of the process and improving efficiency of clinical trials.