Promoting public awareness of randomised clinical trials using the media

Isla MacKenzie, Li Wei, Daniel Rutherford, Evelyn A. Findlay, Wendy Saywood, Marion Kay Campbell, Thomas M MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)



To increase public awareness and understanding of clinical research in Scotland.


A generic media campaign to raise public awareness of clinical research was launched in 2008. The 'Get Randomised' campaign was a Scotland-wide initiative led by the University of Dundee in collaboration with other Scottish universities. Television, radio and newspaper advertising showed leading clinical researchers, general practitioners and patients informing the public about the importance of randomised clinical trials (RCTs). 'Get Randomised' was the central message and interested individuals were directed to the website for more information. To assess the impact of the campaign, cross-sectional surveys were conducted in representative samples of 1040 adults in Scotland prior to campaign launch and again 6 months later.


There was an improvement in public awareness of clinical trials following the campaign; 56.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 51.8, 61.6] of the sample recalled seeing or hearing advertising about RCTs following the campaign compared with 14.8% (10.8, 18.9) prior to the campaign launch (difference = 41.4%; 95% CI for difference 35.6, 48.3; P < 0.01). Of those who recalled the advertising, 49% felt that the main message was that people should take part more in medical research. However, on whether they would personally take part in a clinical trial if asked, there was little difference in response following the campaign ['yes' 31.3% (28.4, 34.1) prior; 30.4% (27.6, 33.2) following; difference = -0.9%; 95% CI for difference -4.8, 3.1%; P = 0.92].


It is possible to raise public awareness of clinical research using the media, but further efforts may be required to influence individuals' decisions to take part in clinical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Early online date8 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • media
  • public engagement
  • randomised clinical trials
  • participation


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