Reducing bias in trials due to reactions to measurement- experts produced recommendations informed by evidence.pdf (780.87 kB)
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Reducing bias in trials due to reactions to measurement: experts produced recommendations informed by evidence

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journal contribution
posted on 28.09.2021, 08:55 by David P French, Lisa M Miles, Diana Elbourne, Andrew Farmer, Martin Gulliford, Louise Locock, Stephen Sutton, Jim McCambridge, Peter Bower, Stacy ClemesStacy Clemes, Mark Conner, Ruth Dundas, Sandra Eldridge, Carrol Gamble, Frank Kee, Alastair Leyland, Rebecca Lynch, Graeme MacLennan, Samuel CS Rowley, Linda Sharples, Falko F Sniehotta, Claire Snowdon, Mirjam Sprangers
Objective: This study (MEasurement Reactions In Trials) aimed to produce recommendations on how best to minimize bias from measurement reactivity (MR) in randomized controlled trials of interventions to improve health. Study design and setting: The MERIT study consisted of: (1) an updated systematic review that examined whether measuring participants had effects on participants’ health-related behaviors, relative to no-measurement controls, and three rapid reviews to identify: (i) existing guidance on MR; (ii) existing systematic reviews of studies that have quantified the effects of measurement on behavioral or affective outcomes; and (iii) studies that have investigated the effects of objective measurements of behavior on health-related behavior; (2) a Delphi study to identify the scope of the recommendations; and (3) an expert workshop in October 2018 to discuss potential recommendations in groups. Results: Fourteen recommendations were produced by the expert group to: (1) identify whether bias is likely to be a problem for a trial; (2) decide whether to collect data about whether bias is likely to be a problem; (3) design trials to minimize the likelihood of this bias. Conclusion: These recommendations raise awareness of how and where taking measurements can produce bias in trials, and are thus helpful for trial design.


The MERIT study was funded by the MRC/NIHR Methodology Research Programme (reference MC_PC_17229)

Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health

Medical Research Council

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Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (SPHSU13)



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Journal of Clinical Epidemiology




130 - 139


Elsevier BV


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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at:

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Dr Stacy Clemes. Deposit date: 27 September 2021