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Design decisions and data completeness for experience sampling methods used in psychosis: systematic review

Deakin, Emilia; Ng, Fiona; Young, Emma; Thorpe, Naomi; Newby, Christopher; Coupland, Carol; Craven, Michael; Slade, Mike


Emilia Deakin

Emma Young

Naomi Thorpe

Professor of Medical Statistics

Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion


Background: The experience sampling method (ESM) is an intensive longitudinal research method. Participants complete questionnaires at multiple times about their current or very recent state. The design of ESM studies is complex. People with psychosis have been shown to be less adherent to ESM study protocols than the general population. It is not known how to design studies that increase adherence to study protocols. A lack of typology makes it is hard for researchers to decide how to collect data in a way that allows for methodological rigour, quality of reporting, and the ability to synthesise findings. The aims of this systematic review were to characterise the design choices made in ESM studies monitoring the daily lives of people with psychosis, and to synthesise evidence relating the data completeness to different design choices. Methods: A systematic review was conducted of published literature on studies using ESM with people with psychosis. Studies were included if they used digital technology for data collection and reported the completeness of the data set. The constant comparative method was used to identify design decisions, using inductive identification of design decisions with simultaneous comparison of design decisions observed. Weighted regression was used to identify design decisions that predicted data completeness. The review was pre-registered (PROSPERO CRD42019125545). Results: Thirty-eight studies were included. A typology of design choices used in ESM studies was developed, which comprised three superordinate categories of design choice: Study context, ESM approach and ESM implementation. Design decisions that predict data completeness include type of ESM protocol used, length of time participants are enrolled in the study, and if there is contact with the research team during data collection. Conclusions: This review identified a range of design decisions used in studies using ESM in the context of psychosis. Design decisions that influence data completeness were identified. Findings will help the design and reporting of future ESM studies. Results are presented with the focus on psychosis, but the findings can be applied across different mental health populations.


Deakin, E., Ng, F., Young, E., Thorpe, N., Newby, C., Coupland, C., …Slade, M. (2022). Design decisions and data completeness for experience sampling methods used in psychosis: systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 22, Article 669.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 18, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 28, 2022
Publication Date Oct 28, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 31, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 31, 2022
Journal BMC Psychiatry
Electronic ISSN 1471-244X
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Article Number 669
Keywords Psychiatry and Mental health
Public URL
Publisher URL


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