Skip to main content


  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

The NICOLA questionnaire trial (NICOLA-QT): a randomised trial of the effect of timing and mode of delivery on the completion and return of a self-assessment questionnaire

  • 1, 2,
  • 1 and
  • 1
Trials201516 (Suppl 2) :P107

  • Published:


  • Secondary Outcome
  • Optimal Time
  • Trial Registration
  • Home Visit
  • Primary Outcome Measure


NICOLA-QT is designed to detect the optimal time and delivery method for giving a self-assessment questionnaire to participants, seeking to overcome the low response rates associated with these. The outline has been registered as SWAT-2. NICOLA-QT is embedded in the NICOLA cohort study, which is recruiting 8,500 people over 50 years of age in Northern Ireland and follow them into old age, making a comprehensive assessment of their health, lifestyles and their decision making.


The overall aim of NICOLA-QT is to examine the impact of differing times and formats of a self-assessment questionnaire on completion rates.


Participants were randomly allocated to receive a questionnaire by either: being handed it in person at the end of a home visit or in the post approximately one week after their home visit, along with a thank-you certificate for participation to-date.


The primary outcome measure is whether or not the self-completion questionnaire is returned. Secondary outcome measures include the time taken to return the questionnaire and the completeness of the questionnaire. Recruitment for the NICOLA cohort began in January 2014 and is expected to continue until late 2015. Although the cohort is still recruiting, this presentation will detail preliminary findings from the interim analysis of 4000 participants in NICOLA-QT.


This SWAT (Study Within A Trial) aims to provide evidence on what research participants might prefer when asked to complete a questionnaire, specifically examining low-cost adjustments that researchers can use to improve return rates.

Trial Registration


Authors’ Affiliations

Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK


© Maguire et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.