Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 355–367 | Cite as

Developing a reporting guideline for social and psychological intervention trials

  • Sean GrantEmail author
  • Evan Mayo-Wilson
  • Sally Hopewell
  • Geraldine Macdonald
  • David Moher
  • Paul Montgomery



Social and psychological interventions are often complex. Understanding randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of these complex interventions requires a detailed description of the interventions tested and the methods used to evaluate them; however, RCT reports often omit, or inadequately report, this information. Incomplete and inaccurate reporting hinders the optimal use of research, wastes resources, and fails to meet ethical obligations to research participants and consumers.


In this paper, we explain how reporting guidelines have improved the quality of reports in medicine, and describe the on-going development of a new reporting guideline for RCTs: CONSORT-SPI (an extension for social and psychological interventions).

Results and conclusions

We invite readers to participate in the project by visiting our website, in order to help us reach the best-informed consensus on these guidelines (


Randomised controlled trial RCT CONSORT-SPI Reporting guideline Reporting standards 



The CONSORT-SPI (Social and Psychological Interventions) International Advisory Group includes: J. Lawrence Aber, Distinguished Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Policy, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University; Chris Bonell, Professor of Sociology and Social Intervention, Centre for Evidence Based Intervention, University of Oxford; David M. Clark, Chair of Psychology, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford; Frances Gardner, Professor of Child and Family Psychology, Centre for Evidence Based Intervention, University of Oxford; Steven Hollon, American Psychological Association Guidelines Committee (Chair), Gertrude Conaway Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University; Jim McCambridge, Senior Lecturer in Behaviour Change, Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology, Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London; Laurence Moore, Professor of Public Health Improvement, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University; Mark Petticrew, Professor of Public Health Evaluation, Department Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Lawrence Sherman, Wolfson Professor of Criminology, Cambridge Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University; Steve Pilling, Director, Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, University College London; James Thomas, Associate Director EPPI-Centre, Reader in Social Policy, Institute of Education, University of London; Elizabeth Waters, Jack Brockhoff Chair of Child Public Health, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia; David Weisburd, Director and Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, Institute of Criminology, Hebrew University Faculty of Law, Jerusalem; Joanne Yaffe, Associate Professor, College of Social Work, University of Utah. This project is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K00087X/1). We thank the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention (Oxford University), the Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness (University College London), and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) for their support. S.G. is supported by a linked Clarendon Fund-Green Templeton College Annual Fund Scholarship to support his doctoral studies and research. D.M. is supported by a University Research Chair.

Conflict of interest


Author statement

PM, EMW, and SG conceived of the idea for the project. All authors helped to draft the manuscript, and all have read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean Grant
    • 1
    Email author
  • Evan Mayo-Wilson
    • 2
  • Sally Hopewell
    • 3
  • Geraldine Macdonald
    • 4
  • David Moher
    • 5
  • Paul Montgomery
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Evidence-Based InterventionUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, Research Department of Clinical, Educational & Health PsychologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Centre for Statistics in MedicineUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  4. 4.Institute of Child Care ResearchQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  5. 5.Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Centre for Practice-Changing Research (CPCR)The Ottawa HospitalOttawaCanada

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