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Open Access Highly Accessed Editorial

Specifying and reporting complex behaviour change interventions: the need for a scientific method

Susan Michie1*, Dean Fixsen2, Jeremy M Grimshaw3 and Martin P Eccles4

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7HB, UK

2 FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 517 S Greensboro Street, Carrboro, NC 27510, USA

3 Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, 1053 Carling Avenue, Room 2-017, Admin Building, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada

4 Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, 21 Claremont Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4AA, UK

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Implementation Science 2009, 4:40  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-40

Published: 16 July 2009


Complex behaviour change interventions are not well described; when they are described, the terminology used is inconsistent. This constrains scientific replication, and limits the subsequent introduction of successful interventions. Implementation Science is introducing a policy of initially encouraging and subsequently requiring the scientific reporting of complex behaviour change interventions.