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Protocol for a factorial randomised controlled trial, embedded within WHiTE 8 COPAL, of an Enhanced Trainee Principal Investigator Package and Additional Digital Nudge to increase recruitment rates

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DateAccepted/In press - 22 Jul 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 5 Sep 2019
Early online date22/07/19
Original languageEnglish


Recruitment remains an issue when conducting randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with a significant proportion of studies failing to reach their target sample size. Studies evaluating interventions to improve recruitment aimed specifically at recruiters to the trial are limited in number. This factorial RCT will evaluate the effectiveness of an educational intervention to trainee principal investigators and a positive reinforcement intervention via an email nudge on increasing recruitment. The targeted recruiters will be in 20 centres nationally recruiting to one large orthopaedic randomised controlled trial, WHiTE 8 COPAL. Centres will be randomised via minimisation to one of four groups. The primary outcome is recruitment rate in the first six months that a centre is actively recruiting, with data being analysed via a Poisson regression model. Results will be presented as adjusted incidence rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals. Secondary outcomes relate to the feasibility and logistics of running the interventions. We will also collect feedback regarding the educational programme set out for the trainee principal investigators. The study started in August 2018 with the anticipation of the primary objective endpoint by October 2019. The results of this study will be used to inform the design of future RCTs, particularly in orthopaedics in the UK, where the role of Trainee Principal Investigators is now a consistent one across different trials.

Trial registration:11600053, ISRCTN, 20/08/2018; SWAT 67, Northern Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research SWAT repository, 01/10/2017.

Trainee Principal Investigator, TPi, Nudge, Swat, Recruitment, Education

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© 2019, The Author(s).

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