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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 ongoing development of a new reporting guideline for RCTs: CONSORT-SPI (an extension for social and psychological interventions). 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 (

Original publication




Journal article


The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science

Publication Date





250 - 254


Evan Mayo-Wilson, DPhhil, MSc, Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, Research Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK; Paul Montgomery, DPhil, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Sally Hopewell, DPhil, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Geraldine Macdonald, MSc, Institute of Child Care Research, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast. UK; David Moher, PhD, MSc, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Centre for Practice-Changing Research (CPCR), The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Canada; Sean Grant, MSc, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Humans, Reproducibility of Results, Consensus, Mental Disorders, Sociology, Medical, Psychotherapy, Research Design, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Checklist