The People’s Trial is a new and exciting way to participate in scientific research, where participants decide all the major steps of a randomised trial. This initiative is being run by the Health Research Board-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) based in NUI Galway in Ireland.
The People’s Trial is an online space where people can contribute to a randomised trial through six phases. The first phase has now been completed but you can sign up to their mailing list to hear about phase two; choosing the final trial question from everyone’s suggestions. Anyone can take part – you don’t need special skills or training. It’s a fun, free way to enjoy science while doing a little bit of good in the world.
A randomised trial is;
“A study in which a number of similar people are randomly assigned to 2 (or more) groups to test a specific drug, treatment or other intervention. One group (the experimental group) has the intervention being tested, the other (the comparison or control group) has an alternative intervention, a dummy intervention (placebo) or no intervention at all. The groups are followed up to see how effective the experimental intervention was. Outcomes are measured at specific times and any difference in response between the groups is assessed statistically. This method is also used to reduce bias.” National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
The People’s Trial aims to help the public learn about randomised trials, to understand why they matter and to be better equipped to think critically about health claims. It will also help researchers learn about how best to involve the public in the steps of a trial process. This in turn will help influence other trials to be better designed and implemented in the future.