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The QuinteT Group, University of Bristol, UK

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are fundamental to evidence-based medicine, but often struggle to recruit sufficient patients within their allocated time and budgets. Tackling recruitment issues is a priority for reducing waste in RCT conduct, and vital to ensuring trial evidence becomes available to inform clinical practice in a timely manner.

The University of Bristol’s QuinteT (Qualitative Research Integrated within Trials) research group specialises in supporting RCTs that are considered particularly challenging for recruitment.


RCTs may have difficulties in recruiting for many reasons. Some of these can be especially challenging to overcome, such as clinicians’ equipoise issues and discomfort with suspending their usual practices, patients’ preferences for certain treatments, and complexities in a trial’s design or organisation. Recruitment issues can also be difficult to anticipate or may manifest in an unexpected way, despite trial teams’ best efforts to prevent these.

The Qualitative Research Integrated within Trials (QuinteT) approach uses bespoke methods to rapidly identify and understand the sources of recruitment difficulty in an RCT, and then supports trial teams to overcome these through tailored actions. To date, these approaches have been applied to over 50 RCTs worldwide. The accumulated knowledge and evidence from this ongoing work is continuously informing new training initiatives, and refinements to methods for identifying and addressing trial recruitment issues more efficiently. For more information about the training initiatives and key resources that may be helpful for recruitment, please see the links below. If you would like to discuss collaborating with QuinteT to support recruitment to your trial, please get in touch with us at   

There is more information about QuinteT at

Method underpinning the Quintet Recruitment Intervention (QRI)

Here are some useful resources about what is behind the QRI.

Training resources

Online recruitment training resource (requires NIHR learn login)

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