Field Trials of Health Interventions: A Toolbox
Pub Date: 2015
ISBN 13: 978-0-1987328-6-0
Conditions of Use
The field guide is comprehensive yet succinct. It reminds the research scientist about most all expected processes but is not overly burdened with read more
The field guide is comprehensive yet succinct. It reminds the research scientist about most all expected processes but is not overly burdened with details. It does not read like a textbook but as a field guide.
Content is accurate, error-free and as far as can be detected, it is unbiased.
The field guide addresses major considerations in construction and implementation of research studies in most any population. As these are expectations of a research project and researcher, significant updates are not anticipated. However, as health care and health care research moves to the community and away from institutions, there may need to be corresponding updates.
The text is clear and limits modifiers, jargon, and technical terminology. A glossary of acronyms is included in the field guide. It is easy to read.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
This field guide supports modularity. A student or researcher could easily read one section and gain necessary information.
The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion.
The text is free of significant interface issues. There are no detected navigation problems, distortions, or distracting display features.
The text contains no detected grammatical errors.
There is an entire chapter about community engagement. The text is not culturally insensitive. It is written for low- and middle-income countries and is sensitive to unique needs of diverse populations.
Field Trials of Health Interventions is thorough, succinct, and well written. It reminds the experienced and novice research scientist of appropriate processes from the design of intervention(s) to reporting of data and findings without missing a step. The field guide is focused on randomized controlled studies in low- and middle-income countries(LMICs) but could be used in most any research setting. I will personally use it in my courses and research.
This text is what the authors call a “toolbox”, a 469-page open access text walking readers through the planning, implementation, data analysis and read more
This text is what the authors call a “toolbox”, a 469-page open access text walking readers through the planning, implementation, data analysis and reporting of field trials (research trials conducted in the “field” or outside of clinical settings). The emphasis is on gold standard of research, Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) conducted in low- and middle income countries (LMICs). With 23 chapters, the 3rd edition of this text is remarkably comprehensive, as illustrated by the detailed table of contents in the PDF version. Instructors in public health/global health and practitioners alike will find this a useful resource.
The detailed content is presented accurately and in a scholarly and academic manner. Sufficient references are provided.
Published in 2015, this is the 3rd edition of this text, which updates and expands content from the 1st edition (1990) and 2nd edition (1996). However, the contributors have organized this “toolbox” in such a way that it will has long-lasting relevance to the field of public health/global health.
Acronyms defined before Chapter 1. As a person with a PhD, I had no trouble with the clarity of the text. However, as an undergraduate instructor I can see where some chapters or subtopics would be unclear for undergraduate students and also perhaps lay health workers or those from community organizations and low resource settings.
The text is very consistent throughout with the terms it uses, and the index is detailed.
This text was not designed to be a textbook, but more like a manual. Since chapters have subtopics it can easily be used for modules in face-to-face and online or hybrid courses. For example, Chapter 14 is on questionnaires and has six sections (1-introduction, 2-questions, 3-questionnaire 4-interviewers 5-data capture 6-the interview) which have subsections. Chapter 14 also has 10 appendices (ie. 14.6-open questions, 14.8-questionnaires for mobile phones)
This is a huge text. Chapter 1 discusses the purpose and context of the book (“toolbox”) and outlines steps to be taken before starting a trial (Chapter 2-13), during trial implementation and data collection (Chapter 14-20) and data analysis, interpretation of results and reporting (Chapter 21, 23). Detailed index also provided
Text is available offline as a PDF and can also be read online. Each format has its pros and cons. The PDF is of course downloadable and makes for easy printing/copying of sections. The online reader version includes hyperlinks by chapter, but not for subtopics of each chapter. It also has a search feature. I do not prefer the way the boxes are presented in the online version.
In my review of this text, I did not notice grammatical errors. Given that this was published by Oxford Press, I imagine a very thorough editing process.
In terms of culture, this text focuses on lessons learned from field trials conducted in LMICs, however the majority of contributors are based in London, UK and Europe. Some chapters give examples for cultural considerations to take when conducting trials in different settings (ie. Ethics, Censuses and Mapping). For example, in Chapter 6 Ethical Considerations, the authors state “It will sometimes be appropriate to keep the identity of the community anonymous, particularly if sensitive issues are discussed, such as hygiene practices or sexual or other practices that are sometimes condemned by other cultures (such as female genital cutting, infanticide, or anal sex).” Chapter 9 Community engagement is an important inclusion for not just LMIC settings but higher income settings as well. Overall, the text is written in a way that is applicable for a variety of cultural backgrounds (race, gender, etc).
“Field Trials of Health Interventions: A Toolbox” may be unlike your average Open Access Text. Editors come from the prestigious London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and this is the 3rd edition. I like the wide array of topics covered, conducting field trials from beginning to end. As an undergraduate instructor, this would be a great, reliable and best of all FREE resource to use in my Health Promotion Program Planning courses and also course on Research Methods, and Global Health. I can pick and choose which chapters are most useful without feeling the need to require the entire text. Authors in Chapter 1 state “We do not envisage that many readers will sit down and read the book from beginning to end! We have called it a ‘toolbox’, because we think this reflects how it might be used, i.e. to consult different chapters and sections to guide different stages in the planning and execution of a trial.”
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 Introduction to field trials of health interventions
- Chapter 2 Types of intervention and their development
- Chapter 3 Reviewing the literature
- Chapter 4 Trial design
- Chapter 5 Trial size
- Chapter 6 Ethical considerations
- Chapter 7 Trial governance
- Chapter 8 Preparing grant applications
- Chapter 9 Community engagement
- Chapter 10 Censuses and mapping
- Chapter 11 Randomization, blinding, and coding
- Chapter 12 Outcome measures and case definition
- Chapter 13 Preliminary studies and pilot testing
- Chapter 14 Questionnaires
- Chapter 15 Social and behavioural research
- Chapter 16 Field organization and ensuring data of high quality
- Chapter 17 Field laboratory methods
- Chapter 18 Budgeting and accounting
- Chapter 19 Intervention costing and economic analysis
- Chapter 20 Data management
- Chapter 21 Methods of analysis
- Chapter 22 Phase IV studies
- Chapter 23 Reporting and using trial results
About the Book
Before new interventions can be used in disease control programmes, it is essential that they are carefully evaluated in “field trials”, which may be complex and expensive undertakings. Descriptions of the detailed procedures and methods used in trials that have been conducted in the past have generally not been published. As a consequence, those planning such trials have few guidelines available and little access to previously accumulated knowledge. In this book the practical issues of trial design and conduct are discussed fully and in sufficient detail for the text to be used as a “toolbox” by field investigators. The toolbox has now been extensively tested through use of the first two editions and this third edition is a comprehensive revision, incorporating the many developments that have taken place with respect to trials since 1996 and involving more than 30 contributors. Most of the chapters have been extensively revised and 7 new chapters have been added.
About the Contributors
Peter G. Smith, Professor of Tropical Epidemiology, Medical Research Council Tropical Epidemiology Group, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Richard H. Morrow, Professor of International Health, Department of International Health, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
David A. Ross, Professor of Epidemiology and International Public Health, Medical Research Council Tropical Epidemiology Group, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.