Table 1

Presentation of the methods used for each element of the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework

Study referenceMethods used in IDF element (a)Methods used in IDF element (b)Methods used in IDF element (c)Methods used in IDF element (d)
MRC guidance
Avery et al 14 Exploratory work
  1. Interview with general practitioners

  2. Interactive workshop (patients)

Identification of active intervention ingredients
  1. Systematic review

Assessing usability
  1. Use by adults with type 2 diabetes

  2. Structured interview

Pilot study
  1. Acceptability and feasibility (semistructured interviews)

Barley et al 15 Studies to inform intervention
  1. Systematic review

  2. Qualitative study (clinicians and patients)

Integration of findings
  1. Findings from the informative studies

  2. Iterative evidence review

Modelling of the intervention
  1. Focus group

  2. Evidence review

Bruce et al 19
  1. Systematic reviews

  2. Clinical guidelines review

  3. Expert views

  4. Observations (clinicians)

  5. Piloting of manual (patients)

Burgess et al 20 Phase 0 (theoretical)
  1. Review of literature

  2. Expert consultation

Phase I (piloting and modelling)
  1. Pilot study

  2. Qualitative interviews with participants to explore acceptability

Cunningham et al 22 Identify evidence
  1. Review of literature (clinical guidelines, systematic reviews)

Model the intervention for delivery
  1. Piloting of manual (patients)

Test feasibility
  1. Piloting of intervention

Ettema et al 26 Identified existing evidence
  1. Systematic review

Identified and developed theory
  1. Systematic review

  2. Derived the questionnaire

  3. Analytical study

(patient characteristics/outcomes)
Modelled process and outcomes
  1. In-depth interviews (patients)

  2. Survey (clinicians)

Face validity
  1. Expert meetings (national experts)

  2. Expert meetings (clinicians)

Faes et al 27 Existing evidence
  1. Literature reviews

  2. Project team meetings

Theoretical understanding
  1. Literature review

  2. Focus groups (experts)

  3. Interviews (patients and caregivers)

  4. Observations

  5. Expert meetings

Intervention modelling
  1. Focus groups

  2. Delphi surveys

  3. Interviews (patients and caregivers)

  4. Literature review

  5. Project team meeting

  6. Observations

  7. Interviews (experts)

  8. Expert consultations

Hinrichs et al 29 Development
  1. Literature review

  2. Cohort study (patients)

Kerkhof et al 30 Theoretical
  1. Literature reviews

  2. Focus groups

  3. Design of tool (users and stakeholders)

  4. Mock-up and testing of app (patients)

  5. Interviews

  6. Development of theoretical framework and manual

  1. Pilot study

  2. Interviews

  3. Observational analysis

  4. Case study (methods used)

  5. Questionnaires

  6. Inductive content analysis

Exploratory trial
  1. Exploratory randomised controlled trial (RCT)

  2. Literature search

  3. Quantitative study

  4. Qualitative evaluation

Menichetti and Graffigna33 Evidences exploration
  1. Systematic review

Tune-up with experts
  1. Expert group discussion

Fine-tuning with patients
  1. Semistructured interviews

Patel et al 36
  1. Literature review

  2. Pilot study

  3. Process evaluation (observations of programme delivery, participant interviews)

Redfern et al 38 Preclinical phase
  1. Literature review

  2. Analysis of current service

  3. Interviews (patient representatives)

  4. Observational study (patients)

  5. Reviewing patient information leaflets

Phase 1: modelling
  1. Consensus meeting (researchers and experts)

  2. Modification of data collection database

  3. Developing computer algorithm

  4. Development of patient intervention leaflets

Phase 2: exploratory trial
  1. Pilot study (semistructured interviews)

Roberts et al 39 Development of the intervention (phase 1 of MRC)
  1. Realist literature review

  2. Surveys (patients and rehabilitation teams)

  3. Focus groups (patients and rehabilitation teams)

Sadler et al 40 Identifying existing evidence and theory
  1. Literature search

Developing the theoretical foundation of the intervention
  1. Qualitative literature review

  2. Interviews (patients, spouse, carers and professionals)

  3. Stakeholder consultation (researchers, clinicians and service users)

  4. Scoping of literature

Modelling process and outcomes
  1. No formal method given ‘designed’

Assessing feasibility of the intervention
  1. Feasibility study (questionnaires preintervention and postintervention, qualitative data from participants and professionals delivering intervention)

Sturt et al 41 Preclinical phase
  1. Literature search

Phase I studies
  1. Iterative process between evidence and intervention components

  2. Study (patients)

Troughton et al 42 Development ‘iterative process’
  1. Team and expert meetings

  2. Literature review

  3. Qualitative study (observation, telephone and face-to-face interviews and focus groups)

  4. Pilot study (intervention)

Feasibility and piloting
  1. Phased pilot study

Wylie et al 47
  1. Remodelling of intervention (feasible and acceptable in setting, refined recruitment processes and outcomes)

  2. Pilot RCT (intervention)

  • IDF, Intervention Development Framework.