Understanding practice-based research participation: The differing motivations of engaged vs. non-engaged clinicians in pragmatic clinical trials

Academic Article


  • Background/Aims Pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs) represent an increasingly used strategy for “real-world” trials. Successful PCTs typically require participation of community-based practices. However, community clinicians often have limited interest or experience in clinical research. Many barriers to practice-based research have been described, but possible motivations to participate among community practices not active in research have not been well explored. The tendency is for researchers to assume similar motivations and priorities across all candidate practices. This is not necessarily the case. A better understanding of the range of reasons clinicians might see for participating in pragmatic trials could be key to promoting this type of practice-based research. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 clinicians and staff members. Half of the interviewees had experience doing practice-based clinical trials and half did not. Individuals in these two groups were also diversified in terms of their practice size and location. Participants were asked about motivations and barriers to doing practice-based research in the context of a planned osteoporosis pragmatic clinical trial. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Results Barriers identified for both experienced and not-experienced clinicians and staff members included: a lack of time, increased paperwork, disruption to work flows, and concern over practice finances. Similar findings have been reported in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. However, regarding positive motivations of practices to participate, we found systematic differences in attitude between research-engaged and research-naïve practices that have not been previously reported. The research-experienced group offered a greater number and variety of reasons to take part than the not-experienced group. While both groups expressed motivations related to patient care, clinicians and staff members experienced in practice-based clinical trials were much more likely to cite intellectual, professional, and societal benefits not envisioned by the other group. Conclusions We conclude that clinicians not already participating in practice-based trials may have a narrower range of motivations than those already participating. The lack of a broader view of possible benefits to participation may also translate into more obdurate recruiting challenges. These results point to the need for recruitment, engagement, and messaging approaches differentially tailored to the needs and interests of non-participating practices.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Messner DA; Moloney R; Warriner AH; Wright NC; Foster PJ; Saag KG
  • Start Page

  • 136
  • End Page

  • 140
  • Volume

  • 4