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‘Let the computer choose?’: the experience of participants in a randomised preference trial of medical versus surgical termination of pregnancy

Lie, Mabel, May, Carl, Kelly, Teresa and Robson, Stephen (2012) ‘Let the computer choose?’: the experience of participants in a randomised preference trial of medical versus surgical termination of pregnancy Sociology of Health and Illness, 34, (5), pp. 746-760. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2011.01412.x). (PMID:22118291).

Record type: Article


The termination of pregnancy trial (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK), is the only randomised trial on termination of pregnancy methods incorporating a qualitative element that aimed to understand the experiences of women participating in the trial. Based on the results of this qualitative work, this article aims to provide insights into two strands of understanding; firstly, women's experience of participating in research about abortion and secondly, their experience of participating in a randomised preference trial. Semi-structured interviews were conducted of up to 90 minutes with 30 participants recruited at a single hospital site. A total of 20 women from the preference arm and 10 from the random arm were interviewed. The analysis and discussion of our findings use reflexive modernisation as a framework for understanding and interpreting some of the actions of social agents, that is, the participants and trial recruiters in the course of a clinical trial as an expert system. We found that the factors that shape women's experiences and decisions include trust in the expert system and reflexivity and agency on the part of both participants and trial recruiters.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 25 November 2011
Published date: June 2012
Keywords: termination of pregnancy, clinical trial, qualitative research, reflexive modernisation, expert systems
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 340865
ISSN: 0141-9889
PURE UUID: d4be8ceb-332d-441c-b9c0-bbdf024a21d6
ORCID for Carl May: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 06 Jul 2012 08:54
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:41

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Author: Mabel Lie
Author: Carl May ORCID iD
Author: Teresa Kelly
Author: Stephen Robson

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