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The impact of global pandemics on patients’ decisions to participate in clinical trials (Distance Learning Project - Unfunded)

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition

About the Project

There are many factors that influence individuals when making a decision about participating in a clinical trial. These can include, but are not limited to, a range of personally relevant aspects such as their perception of risk, trust in the health care professionals, time commitments, interventions being tested etc. However , broader perspectives on whether they intrinsically value research, which can be influenced by others (such as family members, others experiences of research, and the reporting of mainstream media). Amidst the current global coronavirus pandemic, clinical trials are becoming a key feature within mainstream media reporting. As well as covering what clinical trials are and what these COVID19 trials are testing, there are often patient narratives about their experience of being part of the clinical research endeavour. Whether this increased, and frequent, coverage of clinical trials and inclusion of patients narratives is changing the publics broader perspectives about trial participation is not unknown. In addition, anecdotal evidence is suggesting that the rate of participation in many of the current COVID19 trials is very high (~85%) yet the reasons for this are unknown. Identifying what makes research participation within a global pandemic acceptable would be helpful to inform future studies. It could also be hypothesised that the increased media focus on clinical trials changes participation in future clinical trials (both COVID19 and nonCOVID19 trials). This project will investigate the media coverage and use of narratives in relation to COVID19 trials (using a content analysis approach) and explore how this impacted on the public’s perception of clinical trials generally (likely through a survey). In addition, individuals who participated in COVID19 trials will be interviewed (remotely) to explore what impacted on their decisions to participate in the clinical trial (with a key focus on perception of risk) and this will be compared to existing literature on reasons for participation in non-pandemic trials. Lastly, participation rates in clinical trials pre and post global pandemic will be compared and perspectives from nonCOVID trial participants explored. All of this data will be combined to produce guidance on the most appropriate ways to support participation in clinical trials within the context of global pandemics.

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of APPLIED HEALTH SCIENCE. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Health Science (Distance Learning), to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing.


Funding Notes

This is an unfunded project.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered provided they have a Merit/Commendation/Distinction at Masters level.

We anticipate the successful candidate will have a background in applied health science and/or social science (such as sociology, anthropology or psychology) and a strong interest in mixed and qualitative research methods.

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