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Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions - F2F

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This in-person course will provide participants with an understanding of the complex intervention research process. Presentations and activities will relate to the main concepts of developing/identifying and evaluating complex interventions and support participants to apply the principles to their own research. It will focus on the overarching considerations required to develop complex intervention research projects, rather than the details of study design, and enable researchers to develop and conduct research that will provide the most useful evidence for decision making. The course will be structured around the MRC/NIHR Framework for Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions. There will be a mix of lectures and small group activities to put learning into practice. 

It is for anyone interested in developing, evaluating and implementing interventions with the intention of positive health and/or social change. This could be academic or other researchers, practitioners, or others interested in implementing the best process for their intervention development or evaluation. Participants should have some familiarity with the framework for developing and evaluating interventions, and some experience of working with complex interventions. 

The course covers: 

  • Introduction to using the Framework
  • Developing and identifying interventions
  • Feasibility research
  • Evaluation research
  • Implementation & round up


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Course Leader

Andy Baxter
Course Description


Course timetable:

The course runs across three days (10am - 4pm) on 5th, 6th & 7th November 2024 and equates to 18 hours of study. Lunch will be provided.

By the end of day 1 participants will:

  • Have an overview of the journey through complex intervention research.
  • Have an awareness of the challenges and limitations of complex intervention research. 
  • Understand how to approach complex intervention research & the key overarching considerations.
  • Begin to see how you can apply the framework to your own complex intervention research. 
  • Understand what resources/steps to use in developing a complex intervention
  • Know how to take forward an ‘identified’ intervention
  • Know how to develop a programme theory and make use of it throughout the research process
  • Be aware of key issues to consider for the implementation of complex interventions

By the end of day 2, participants will: 

  • Understand what feasibility studies are and why they are important ​
  • Have learned how to approach designing a feasibility study​
  • Have learned how the core elements can be applied at this stage ​
  • Understand how feasibility study findings can inform decision about next steps​
  • Be able to consider what complexity means for the evaluation of interventions
  • Understand that a focus on usefulness of evidence requires methodological pluralism
  • Have some understanding of how to choose between evaluation approaches
  • Have an understanding of the six key considerations (core elements of the framework) at the evaluation stage
  • Have an understanding of what economic evaluation is and why we do it
  • Have an understanding of key methods/different types of economic evaluation

By the end of day 3, participants will: 

  • Be aware of framework checklist and how it can be applied
  • Understand the importance of considering Implementation throughout the phases of the framework and specifically at the Implementation Phase 
  • Review and reinforce the key motivations and innovations of the new framework
  • Be aware of research questions and methods particularly relevant to a systems perspective
  • Have the opportunity to raise questions to reinforce learning and fill gaps.



Participants should be familiar with the process of intervention development and evaluation, with some experience in intervention research.

No software or sign up required.

Essential reading: 

Skivington, Matthews, Simpson et al (2021). A new framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions: update of Medical Research Council guidance BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2061 (Published 30 September 2021).


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