Studies Within A Trial (SWATs) are a good way of generating evidence to support trial process decision-making. SWATs are designing to be replicated, which means it’s important to have some focus otherwise we end up with lots of single evaluations that don’t really provide much certainty as to what is and is not effective.
The York Trial Forge SWAT Centre working together with the SWAT Network has produced a list of 11 priority recruitment and retention SWATs. These SWATs were prioritised by looking at recruitment and retention interventions that are used a lot in the UK (with ones used often ranked higher), Cochrane systematic reviews of recruitment and retention strategies and the PRioRiTY 1 and 2 process that identified important unanswered questions in trial recruitment and retention, respectively. Evaluations of these SWATs, including of cost-effectiveness, would be very welcome.
Example SWAT priority questions for recruitment include ‘What is the most effective way of involving patients and the public in trials to improve participant recruitment?’, ‘What is the most effective way to use video(s) to support trial recruitment?’ and ‘What are the most effective strategies to recruit underserved groups?’
Priority SWAT questions for retention include ‘What is the most effective way of offering flexibility to support participant retention?’, ‘What is the most effective way of using participant reminders to support retention?’ and ‘What is the most effective way to use financial incentives to support retention?’
How to cite the priority list:
Parker, A., Way, R., Okanlawon, A. A., Mongelli, G., Coleman, E., Arundel, C., … Treweek, S. (2024, February 8). WP1: Identifying and prioritising trial recruitment and retention strategies. https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/CZ829