GoActive: a protocol for the mixed methods process evaluation of a school-based physical activity promotion programme for 13-14 year old adolescents

Stephanie T. Jong, Helen Elizabeth Brown, Caroline H. D. Croxson, Paul Wilkinson, Kirsten L. Corder, Esther M. F. van Sluijs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Process evaluations are critical for interpreting and understanding outcome trial results. By understanding how interventions function across different settings, process evaluations have the capacity to inform future dissemination of interventions. The complexity of Get others Active (GoActive), a 12-week, school-based physical activity intervention implemented in eight schools, highlights the need to investigate how implementation is achieved across a variety of school settings. This paper describes the mixed methods GoActive process evaluation protocol that is embedded within the outcome evaluation. In this detailed process evaluation protocol, we describe the flexible and pragmatic methods that will be used for capturing the process evaluation data.

METHODS: A mixed methods design will be used for the process evaluation, including quantitative data collected in both the control and intervention arms of the GoActive trial, and qualitative data collected in the intervention arm. Data collection methods will include purposively sampled, semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews, direct observation, and participant questionnaires (completed by students, teachers, older adolescent mentors, and local authority-funded facilitators). Data will be analysed thematically within and across datasets. Overall synthesis of findings will address the process of GoActive implementation, and through which this process affects outcomes, with careful attention to the context of the school environment.

DISCUSSION: This process evaluation will explore the experience of participating in GoActive from the perspectives of key groups, providing a greater understanding of the acceptability and process of implementation of the intervention across the eight intervention schools. This will allow for appraisal of the intervention's conceptual base, inform potential dissemination, and help optimise post-trial sustainability. The process evaluation will also assist in contextualising the trial effectiveness results with respect to how the intervention may or may not have worked and, if it was found to be effective, what might be required for it to be sustained in the 'real world'. Furthermore, it will offer suggestions for the development and implementation of future initiatives to promote physical activity within schools.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ISRCTN31583496 . Registered on 18 February 2014.

Original languageEnglish
Article number282
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Data Analysis
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Process Assessment (Health Care)
  • School Health Services

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