Synthesising trial evidence to assist in the design and implementation of behaviour change interventions presents enormous challenges. Methods that have been used in the past, involving meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials of specific intervention ‘packages’ in poorly specified contexts, coupled with subjective judgements about generalisability, are now being superseded by more systematic approaches involving application of theory and precise systems for characterising the content and context of interventions. In an effort to move this area forward, Peters, de Bruin, and Crutzen (2013) point to limitations with research synthesis approaches that analyse single behaviour change techniques (BCTs) and present an alternative methodology. While their article provides food for thought, it will be important when considering the merits of their alternative approach to evaluate what has already been achieved using the full potential of currently available methods to examine combinations of BCTs. The current comment also clarifies BCT definitions and methodology.
- Behaviour change techniques
- Behaviour change intervention