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Intervention trials: How to know if your intervention works




Intervention trials: How to know if your intervention works

All of the work that we have done to date has led us to the point where we're now ready to put our insights into practice. In Chapter 11, we explain how to design trials in a way that will give us the clearest picture of our success - or not.

Designing for success

Once your measures of success have been determined, it is time to consider how to test or evaluate your intervention to understand whether your measures of success have been achieved.

In this chapter, we look at how to design a trial to determine whether an intervention worked, balancing methodological and practical considerations.

Further resources

Influences, further reading and blog posts related to this chapter. 

Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA)

As part of a large study designed to reduce harm in Victorian hospitals, we ran a simulation-based training program to increase health service board members' communication skills. The results of the randomised controlled trial are in BMJ Open.

SMS reminders to parents for increasing vaccination rates in schools

In Victoria, the human papillomavirus vaccine is delivered within a secondary school vaccine program, administered by local government. In this trial, we tested the hypothesis that sending an SMS reminder to parents would lead to greater uptake of the vaccine. A randomised control trial design was used across 31 schools within seven local government areas. The results were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Can behavioural interventions increase citizens’ use of e-government?

In Government Information Quarterly, we publish the results of a quasi-experimental trial looking at how to increase citizen uptake and use of use of an e-government service.

Kerbside contamination field trials

As part of a multi-agency Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration, we recently ran a series of Online Experiments and Field Trials to see 'what works' in reducing contamination in our household/kerbside bins. In this video, program co-lead Jenni Downes explains the pros and cons of each method and why field trials were necessary in this context.

Kerbside contamination online experiments

In this second video, Waste and Circular Economy co-lead, Jenni Downes explains how online experiments can be a useful tool in allowing you to pre-test different types of systems, materials and messages.

Evaluation of Behavior Change Interventions

From the Cambridge University Press Handbook of Behavior Change, Part II - Methods and Processes of Behavior Change: Intervention Development, Application, and Translation, is this guide to exploring the utility of an intervention, looking at efficacy, “real-world” effectiveness and how the intervention works to produce change within a particular context.

Impact Evaluation in Practice

The second edition of the World Bank's Impact Evaluation in Practice handbook offers an accessible introduction to impact evaluation for policymakers and development practitioners. It features real-world examples and practical guidelines for designing and implementing with impact.

The case for laboratory experiments in behavioural public policy

In this chapter of Behavioural Public Policy (Cambridge University Press) the authors discuss how, in some policy contexts, a well-designed laboratory study can be a good – perhaps the best – way to answer the kinds of research questions that policymakers ask.


Save Lives Save 000 for Emergencies

Working with The Shannon Company, we convened a Facilitated Dialogue to understand how DHHS could best develop their education campaign on the role of ambulances.
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