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Background: Methodology 3 - Randomised Control Trial - DMI and LSHTM


Background: Methodology 3 - Randomised Control Trial - DMI and LSHTM

Wednesday, Mar 4
2 years 1 week ago

To: Participants - Research Methodologies - London, March 16th, 2015

Background: Methodology 3 - DMI and LSHTM - Randomized Control Trial - Roy Head and Simon Cousens

The 3rd research methodology presentation will come from Roy Head - DMI and Professor Simon Cousens - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

As with the background information for the opening presentation by Dr Sebastian Taylor and the 2nd presentation by Dr Sue Goldstein the links that follow are not Roy and Simon's presentation. The links below are background orientation information and knowledge on the DMI/LSHM RCT research initiative in Burkinsa Faso. Please do review and send any comments, questions or observations by email reply or the comments block when you log in through the Read More link below - thanks - Warren

Can Mass Media Interventions Reduce Child Mortality?

Impact Data - Research Initiative: Test the Impact of a Radio Campaign Addressing Child Mortality

Proving the impact of media on behaviour change

Thanks for reviewing and providing comments and questions - Warren

RCT Burkina Faso - Questions for Roy and Simon

Can you comment on the possibility that social desirability bias affected self-report responses from survey respondents within the intervention group e.g. listeners have heard (repeatedly) that they should give ORS or increased liquids to their infants, so they tell the interviewer thats what they have done?

The background information mentions that you are undertaking qualitative research to explore (some of) the midline results further. Have you also collected service use data or conducted exit interviews to triangulate and verify self-reports of service uptake?

I also look forward to hearing your answers to my questions and to those raised by Kavita Abraham Dowsing and Leonie Hoijtink. Thanks!

Simon Cousens replies to this

Simon Cousens replies to this question from Nicola Harford

Social desirability bias is a possibility which is why the primary outcome for the trial is pos-neonatal child mortality, reporting of which we don't expect to be influenced by exposure or not to the campaign. We have collected service use data.


RCT questions

A question on research methodologies, (just quite general): RCTs have become very popular methodology for their apparent rigour. What happens though when they are applied when observing how communication and knowledge flows change behaviour where it is hard to set the parameters of control and they become ‘polluted’ because of people’s communication. What are the ethics in terms of controlling the flow of information that would naturally happen just so to complete a research study. Is the domination of science and the need to ‘prove’ causality becoming an end in itself rather than a means?

Apoorva Mishra

Natural flow of information

Response from Simon Cousens to this question from APOORVA MISHRA

In the RCT in Burkina Faso the campaign is broadcast in some areas but not others but beyond that makes no attempt to "control" the natural flow of information between people.


Social media and health outcomes

An interesting corollary is a column this week by Silvio Waisbord at George Washington University school of media and public affairs, on "Social Media and Global Health" Quote: "we should not exaggerate (social media's) impact nor should we underestimate its contributions".

Among the challenges: most people simply are not online. "Also, it is not obvious that even if more people had digital access, social media would effectively reach, persuade, remind, or change attitudes related to health care." Instead, he opines, it is perhaps a useful intermediary for reaching key influencers: policy-makers, scholars and the like. His editorial or the May 2014 special issue of the Journal of Health Communications, on behaviour change and child health, is also worth a look: "program funders and managers need to support flexible, comprehensive, and different approaches to impact data using various methods.

As long as studies are tasked only with documenting short-term impact, we are unlikely to have data to determine whether changes are sustainable. As long as programs do not support large-scale interventions and assessments, we may not know if results can be replicated and expanded. As long as interest in documenting successes and failures remains scant, we will not have a rich dataset to determine how behavioral and social change works."


Research Methodologies
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