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Patient choice of mode of outcome data collection in randomised controlled trials

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Chris Sutton
    Dr S Cotterill
    Prof Peter Bower
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The Studentship is funded through the MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership (TMRP) which brings together a number of national and international networks, institutions and partners undertaking clinical trials and trials methodology research. Its overall aim is to improve patient care by improving the way in which the healthcare evidence base is developed.

The TMRP’s PhD programme presents a unique opportunity to undertake training and research in major areas where clinical trials need to be improved to help increase the health of society.

There is increasing use of technology (apps, online systems) for collecting follow-up data remotely in randomised controlled trials. However, although in some trials (e.g. an e-health intervention) the mode of data collection is directly linked to the method of delivery of the outcome questionnaires, in other trials the mode is usually chosen by the research team, typically with patient, carer and public involvement in the decision-making process. This project will investigate the options for outcome data collection, including the potential for mixed-mode data collection, where the mode of data collection (e.g. hard-copy questionnaire or online questionnaire) is chosen by the participant. It is also likely to include a SWAT (study within a trial) to investigate the impact of choice of mode of data collection on response rate and other important outcomes.

Entry Requirements
Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a quantitative subject relevant to the chosen project title. A Masters degree in a relevant subject and/or experience in statistics or clinical trial design is desirable. Some knowledge or experience and an interest in mixed methods would also be desirable. If you are interested, please make direct contact with the Supervisor to discuss the project. You MUST also submit an online application form - choose PhD Biostatistics.

Further details on the TRMP and funded projects can be found here

Funding Notes

This project forms one of two potential studies funded through the TMRP. Studentship funding is for a duration of three years to commence in September 2019 and covers UK/EU tuition fees and a UKRI stipend (£15,009 per annum 2019/20). Due to funding restrictions the studentship is open to UK and EU nationals with 3 years residency in the UK.

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


1. Bower P, Brueton V, Gamble C, et al. Interventions to improve recruitment and retention in clinical trials: a survey and workshop to assess current practice and future priorities. Trials. 2014; 15: 399.
2. Brueton VC, Tierney J, Stenning S, et al. Strategies to improve retention in randomised trials. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2013; 12: Mr000032.
3. Edwards PJ, Roberts I, Clarke MJ, et al. Methods to increase response to postal and electronic questionnaires. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009; 8.

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