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BACKGROUND: People need high-quality information to make decisions about research participation. Providing information in written format alone is conventional but may not be the most effective and acceptable approach. We developed a structure for the presentation of information using multimedia which included generic and trial-specific content. Our aim was to embed 'Studies Within A Trial' (SWATs) across multiple ongoing trials to test whether multimedia presentation of patient information led to better rates of recruitment. METHODS: Five trials included a SWAT and randomised their participants to receive a multimedia presentation alongside standard information, or standard written information alone. We collected data on trial recruitment, acceptance and retention and analysed the pooled results using random effects meta-analysis, with the primary outcome defined as the proportion of participants randomised following an invitation to take part. RESULTS: Five SWATs provided data on the primary outcome of proportion of participants randomised. Multimedia alongside written information results in little or no difference in recruitment rates (pooled odds ratio = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.79 to 1.17, p-value = 0.671, I2 = 0%). There was no effect on any other outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Multimedia alongside written information did not improve trial recruitment rates. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN71952900, ISRCTN 06710391, ISRCTN 17160087, ISRCTN05926847, ISRCTN62869767.

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Journal article



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Information, Meta-analysis, Randomised controlled trial, Recruitment, Research methodology, SWATs, User testing