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2012 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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2012 National Meeting

2019 — Now What? Learning from Null Findings in Well-Designed Studies

Rosen CS, NCPTSD & CHCE-Palo Alto; Schnurr PP, NCPTSD - White River Junction; Owen RR, CeMHOR - North Little Rock;

Workshop Objectives:
Well-designed studies that produce negative findings can be as informative as studies that support a researcher’s hypotheses. Null results force us to challenge our original assumptions and can advance our thinking in unanticipated directions. This workshop will outline a systematic approach to interpreting studies that produce null results, and to differentiating inconclusive studies from ones that produce unexpected findings. The workshop will also discuss strategies for publishing studies with null findings.

This workshop will include a combination of didactic and interactive exercises. In Part 1, we will provide an overview of critical questions to ask when examining null results of randomized trials, using examples from HSR&D-funded studies and other research aimed at improving VA mental health care. These include questions about whether the study methods were appropriate to the research question, whether the study had adequate power, whether the subjects one was able to recruit reflected the intended targets of the intervention, whether the intervention could be delivered with sufficient fidelity, whether the intervention was ineffective in producing the desired changes, and/or whether evolving changes in VA care made the intervention unnecessary or obsolete by the time the study was concluded. The answers to these questions can yield different conclusions and policy implications. In part 2, we will have an interactive small-group exercise in which participants interpret null results either from their own work or from additional examples provided by the instructors.

Target Audience:
All researchers involved in efficacy, effectiveness, or implementation trials.

Assumed Audience Familiarity with Topic:
The audience should have a basic understanding of randomized controlled trials.

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