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Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit

Studies within Trials (SWATs)

A Study within a Trial (SWAT) is a self-contained research study that is embedded in a host trial in order to evaluate or explore alternative ways of delivering or organising a particular trial process. SWATs can answer questions such as ‘Will 6-monthly newsletters help keep patients in the trial?’; ‘Will face-to-face site initiation visits improve data quality?’; ‘How much more accurate is it to use specially collected data rather than routine data for follow up?’; and ‘Will it be more acceptable and efficient to stage the information and consent provided to trial participants?’.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) new funding stream provides support for ‘Studies Within A Trial (SWATs)’ in the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) program. 

If you are interested in exploring any type of methodological collaboration with us, please contact


For more information on SWATs and reporting embedded recruitment trials, please have a look at the HRB-TMRN webinar hosted by Professor Sandra Eldridge and Vichithranie Madurasinghe from PCTU in October 2018 - Guidelines for Reporting Embedded Recruitment Trials, that explores this area in more detail.


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