Main outcomes of an RCT to pilot test reporting and feedback to foster research integrity climates in the VA

Brian C. Martinson, David C. Mohr, Martin P. Charns, David Nelson, Emily Hagel-Campbell, Ann Bangerter, Hanna E. Bloomfield, Richard Owen, Carol R. Thrush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Assessing the integrity of research climates and sharing such information with research leaders may support research best practices. We report here results of a pilot trial testing the effectiveness of a reporting and feedback intervention using the Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SOuRCe). Methods: We randomized 41 Veterans Health Administration (VA) facilities to a phone-based intervention designed to help research leaders understand their survey results (enhanced arm) or to an intervention in which results were simply distributed to research leaders (basic arm). Primary outcomes were (1) whether leaders took action, (2) whether actions taken were consistent with the feedback received, and (3) whether responses differed by receptivity to quality improvement input. Results: Research leaders from 25 of 42 (59%) VA facilities consented to participate in the study intervention and follow-up, of which 14 were at facilities randomized to the enhanced arm. We completed follow-up interviews with 21 of the 25 leaders (88%), 12 from enhanced arm facilities. While not statistically significant, the proportion of leaders reporting taking some action in response to the feedback was twice as high in the enhanced arm than in the basic arm (67% vs. 33%, p =.20). While also not statistically significant, a higher proportion of actions taken among facilities in the enhanced arm were responsive to the survey results than in the basic arm (42% vs. 22%, p =.64). Conclusions: Enhanced feedback of survey results appears to be a promising intervention that may increase the likelihood of responsive action to improve organizational climates. Due to the small sample size of this pilot study, even large percentage-point differences between study arms are not statistically distinguishable. This hypothesis should be tested in a larger trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
JournalAJOB Empirical Bioethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development Service (VA-HSR&D), grant SDR 12–423, to Brian C. Martinson (PI). While VA-HSR&D provided funding, the funder had no further input on the planning or conduct of the research, nor any influence over the content of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, This Article is not subject to U.S. Copyright Law.


  • Veterans Affairs
  • organizational climate
  • randomized controlled trial
  • reporting and feedback
  • research integrity
  • survey


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