Establishing guidelines for executing and reporting Internet intervention research

October 20, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The field of Internet interventions is growing rapidly. New programs are continually being developed to facilitate health and mental health promotion, disease and emotional distress prevention, risk factor management, treatment, and relapse prevention. However, a clear definition of Internet interventions, guidelines for research, and evidence of effectiveness have been slower to follow. This article focuses on the quality standardization of research on Internet-delivered psychological and behavioural interventions. Although the science underpinning Internet interventions is just starting to be established, across research studies there are often conceptual and methodological difficulties. The authors argue that this situation is due to the lack of universally accepted operational guidelines and evaluation methods. Following a critical appraisal of existing codes of conduct and guidelines for Internet-assisted psychological and health interventions, the authors developed a framework of guidelines for Internet intervention research utilizing aspects of facet theory (Guttman & Greenbaum, 1998). The framework of facets, elements, and guidelines of best practice in reporting Internet intervention research was then sent to several leading researchers in the field for their comment and input, so that a consensus framework could be agreed on. The authors outline 12 key facets to be considered when evaluating and reporting Internet intervention studies. Each facet consists of a range of recommended elements, designed as the minimum features for reporting Internet intervention studies. The authors propose that this framework be utilized when designing and reporting Internet intervention research, so results across studies can be replicated, extended, compared, and contrasted with greater ease and clarity.