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Important considerations for feasibility studies in physical activity research involving persons with multiple sclerosis: a scoping systematic review and case study

Learmonth, Y.C. and Motl, R.W. (2018) Important considerations for feasibility studies in physical activity research involving persons with multiple sclerosis: a scoping systematic review and case study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 4 (1).

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Abstract

Background
Much research has been undertaken to establish the important benefits of physical activity in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). There is disagreement regarding the strength of this research, perhaps because the majority of studies on physical activity and its benefits have not undergone initial and systematic feasibility testing. We aim to address the feasibility processes that have been examined within the context of physical activity interventions in MS.

Method
A systematic scoping review was conducted based on a literature search of five databases to identify feasibility processes described in preliminary studies of physical activity in MS. We read and extracted methodology from each study based on the following feasibility metrics: process (e.g. recruitment), resource (e.g. monetary costs), management (e.g. personnel time requirements) and scientific outcomes (e.g. clinical/participant reported outcome measures). We illustrate the use of the four feasibility metrics within a randomised controlled trial of a home-based exercise intervention in persons with MS.

Results
Twenty-five studies were identified. Resource feasibility (e.g. time and resources) and scientific outcomes feasibility (e.g. clinical outcomes) methodologies were applied and described in many studies; however, these metrics have not been systematically addressed. Metrics related to process feasibility (e.g. recruitment) and management feasibility (e.g. human and data management) are not well described within the literature. Our case study successfully enabled us to address the four feasibility metrics, and we provide new information on management feasibility (i.e. estimate data completeness and estimate data entry) and scientific outcomes feasibility (i.e. determining data collection materials appropriateness).

Conclusion
Our review highlights the existing research and provides a case study which assesses important metrics of study feasibility. This review serves as a clarion call for feasibility trials that will substantially strengthen the foundation of research on exercise in MS.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/37620
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