Use of modified Delphi introduces the risk of chronological bias during clinical research interventions

Kaylynn Armstrong, Hend Nadim, Dai Wai Olson, Sonja Stutzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A study aimed at reducing the time spent on the phone obtaining insurance preauthorisation in a neurosurgical clinic was successfully completed. However, the researchers were unable to reject the null hypothesis because of a combination of chronological bias and the Hawthorne effect. AIM: To increase nurse researchers' awareness of the potential to introduce a chronological bias as a confounder in clinical research and suggest potential alternative approaches to study design. DISCUSSION: The researcher shared the study's purpose, design and outcome measure with the participants before collecting the baseline data. This enabled the participants to alter their practice before the intervention was implemented (a chronological bias) and change their behaviour surrounding the outcome (the Hawthorne effect). CONCLUSION: The use of the Delphi method became a catalyst for change before the collection of baseline data, the combination of chronological bias and the Hawthorne effect affecting the study's results. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Nurse researchers seeking to improve practice should collect baseline data before informing participants and consider the risks and benefits of blinding (concealment) surrounding the outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalNurse researcher
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 11 2021

Keywords

  • data collection
  • Delphi
  • methodology
  • qualitative research
  • research
  • research methods
  • study design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory

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