Title: UK Researcher views on Blinding in Complex Intervention Randomised Controlled Trials: A Survey of UKCRC and TMRP Researchers
Blinding, the practice of concealing treatment allocation, plays a crucial role in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). However, in the context of complex interventions, its feasibility and impact on study quality have been subjects of debate. This survey aims to capture the perceptions of researchers affiliated with the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) and the Trial Methodology Research Partnership (TMRP) in the United Kingdom regarding blinding in complex intervention RCTs.
This cross-sectional study employed an online survey comprising 30 questions. Utilizing a structured questionnaire, we targeted the population of UKCRC and TMRP researchers. The Likert scale was employed to assess respondents' views, ranging from "Strongly Disagree" to "Strongly Agree." In addition to quantitative responses, a free-text box allowed for qualitative input. The survey collected data from a substantial sample size of UKCRC and TMRP researchers and employed descriptive statistical analyses.
Our findings indicate a diverse spectrum of perceptions among UKCRC and TMRP researchers regarding blinding in complex intervention RCTs. While many respondents acknowledged the challenges inherent in blinding within this context, responses varied in terms of its perceived importance, influence on securing funding, and alignment with critical appraisal tools. Notably, the recent NIHR-MRC Framework (2021) emerged as a focal point in shaping attitudes toward blinding.
This survey presents interesting researchers' perceptions regarding blinding in complex intervention RCTs. The results emphasise the necessity for continued dialogue within the research community to address methodological challenges and adapt guidelines to better suit the complex intervention context. A comprehensive understanding of these perceptions has the potential to enhance the quality and relevance of clinical research in this evolving field.
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