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Full NameProfessor Mike Clarke

Department:Centre for Public Health

Organisation:Queen's University Belfast

Email Address:Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Research Fields

  • Other

Other Research Fields:

Health services research, trial methodology, evaluations of health and social care

Postgrad Medical Specialties

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Psychiatry
  • Anaesthetics
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Practice
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Ophthalmology
  • Paediatrics
  • Public Health
  • Sports and Exercise Medicine

Medical Subspecialties

  • Clinical Trials
  • Other

Other Medical Specialties:

Systematic reviews

My Work

Besides working on a series of randomised trials and systematic reviews across a wide range of areas of health and social care, we are conducting research into the methods for trials, reviews and other research in health and social care. Our emphasis is on identifying appropriate and effective methods for these evaluations. We have developed the SWAT / SWAR (Study Within A Trial / Review) initiatives to facilitate this [1]. We are also actively involved in the COMET Initiative to facilitate the development of core outcome sets for health research [2,3].

1. Clarke M, Savage G, Maguire L, McAneney H. The SWAT (study within a trial) programme; embedding trials to improve the methodological design and conduct of future research. Trials 2015;16(Suppl 2):P209.
2. Gargon E, Williamson PR, Altman DG, Blazeby JM, Tunis S, Clarke M. The COMET Initiative database: progress and activities update (2015). Trials 2017;18(1):54.
3. Kirkham JJ, Clarke M, Williamson PR. A methodological approach for assessing the uptake of core outcome sets using findings from a review of randomised controlled trials of rheumatoid arthritis. BMJ 2017;357:j2262.

Potential Projects

Rather than specifying a specific project here, we should like to work with a potential student to develop a related series of SWAT or SWAR that could be embedded in one or more randomised trials or reviews. These methodology research studies are likely to include testing the effects of different methods and might take place at any point on the lifespan of a trial or review, from the initial prioritisation of the research question, and on through the design, conduct, analysis, interpretation and dissemination phases. The outlines for SWAT and SWAR in the online repository ( provide numerous ideas that could be developed or added to. We should be interested in the conduct of different SWAT or SWAR in one (or a small number of) trials or reviews, or of the same SWAT/SWAR in numerous trials/reviews, or a balance of these approaches.