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Analysis and reporting of stepped wedge randomised controlled trials: synthesis and critical appraisal of published studies, 2010 to 2014

Overview of attention for article published in Trials, August 2015
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (88th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
10 tweeters


54 Dimensions

Readers on

96 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
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Analysis and reporting of stepped wedge randomised controlled trials: synthesis and critical appraisal of published studies, 2010 to 2014
Published in
Trials, August 2015
DOI 10.1186/s13063-015-0838-3
Pubmed ID

Calum Davey, James Hargreaves, Jennifer A Thompson, Andrew J Copas, Emma Beard, James J Lewis, Katherine L Fielding


Stepped wedge cluster randomised trials introduce interventions to groups of clusters in a random order and have been used to evaluate interventions for health and wellbeing. Standardised guidance for reporting stepped wedge trials is currently absent, and a range of potential analytic approaches have been described. We systematically identified and reviewed recently published (2010 to 2014) analyses of stepped wedge trials. We extracted data and described the range of reporting and analysis approaches taken across all studies. We critically appraised the strategy described by three trials chosen to reflect a range of design characteristics. Ten reports of completed analyses were identified. Reporting varied: seven of the studies included a CONSORT diagram, and only five also included a diagram of the intervention rollout. Seven assessed the balance achieved by randomisation, and there was considerable heterogeneity among the approaches used. Only six reported the trend in the outcome over time. All used both 'horizontal' and 'vertical' information to estimate the intervention effect: eight adjusted for time with a fixed effect, one used time as a condition using a Cox proportional hazards model, and one did not account for time trends. The majority used simple random effects to account for clustering and repeat measures, assuming a common intervention effect across clusters. Outcome data from before and after the rollout period were often included in the primary analysis. Potential lags in the outcome response to the intervention were rarely investigated. We use three case studies to illustrate different approaches to analysis and reporting. There is considerable heterogeneity in the reporting of stepped wedge cluster randomised trials. Correct specification of the time-trend underlies the validity of the analytical approaches. The possibility that intervention effects vary by cluster or over time should be considered. Further work should be done to standardise the reporting of the design, attrition, balance, and time-trends in stepped wedge trials.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 96 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 1%
United States 1 1%
Sweden 1 1%
Sudan 1 1%
Unknown 92 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 25 26%
Student > Ph. D. Student 14 15%
Student > Master 9 9%
Professor > Associate Professor 8 8%
Professor 6 6%
Other 22 23%
Unknown 12 13%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 31 32%
Social Sciences 10 10%
Mathematics 9 9%
Nursing and Health Professions 8 8%
Psychology 4 4%
Other 14 15%
Unknown 20 21%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 13. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 May 2016.
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Outputs from Trials
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Trials
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Altmetric has tracked 13,934,958 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 3,529 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 7.7. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 239,668 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them