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Surveying clinical trial participant satisfaction


This pilot study was conducted to evaluate participants’ satisfaction when attending appointments at one of the HPS2-THRIVE trial clinics, by collecting and comparing data about their expectations and perceptions.


Using a modified version of the SERVQUAL questionnaire, participants were asked to assign a score to each of 10 service quality factors (SQFs) on a 5 point Likert scale to indicate (i) how important they considered each SQF in relation to their attendance at the clinic & (ii) their actual experience that day. Participants were also invited to describe anything they found particularly satisfying or dissatisfying about attending the study clinic.


44 (90%) of 49 consecutively attending participants agreed to complete this questionnaire, but 11 of the returned questionnaires were not fully completed. The remaining 33 questionnaires were included in a gap analysis. The overall mean score across all 10 SQFs was 4.6 for importance and 4.9 for actual experience. Actual experience scores exceeded importance for all SQFs except ‘Access’.

Free-text descriptions were provided on 23 questionnaires; descriptions of particularly satisfying experiences outnumbered those of dissatisfying experiences by 3:1. The main source of satisfaction related to staff friendliness and most of the dissatisfaction related to access.


Overall, participants’ experience exceeded their expectations, the only exception being ‘Access’. ‘Friendliness’ was a key factor and should be included in the SQFs future. Nearly all participants were happy to complete the questionnaire and most were able to do so, but around 25% may have benefitted from assistance in completing it.

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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.

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Bray, C. Surveying clinical trial participant satisfaction. Trials 16 (Suppl 2), P45 (2015).

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