Methodological and ethical challenges in a web-based randomized controlled trial of a domestic violence intervention

Laura Tarzia, Jodie Valpied, Jane Koziol-McLain, Nancy Glass, Kelsey Hegarty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The use of Web-based methods to deliver and evaluate interventions is growing in popularity, particularly in a health care context. They have shown particular promise in responding to sensitive or stigmatized issues such as mental health and sexually transmitted infections. In the field of domestic violence (DV), however, the idea of delivering and evaluating interventions via the Web is still relatively new. Little is known about how to successfully navigate several challenges encountered by the researchers while working in this area. This paper uses the case study of I-DECIDE, a Web-based healthy relationship tool and safety decision aid for women experiencing DV, developed in Australia. The I-DECIDE website has recently been evaluated through a randomized controlled trial, and we outline some of the methodological and ethical challenges encountered during recruitment, retention, and evaluation. We suggest that with careful consideration of these issues, randomized controlled trials can be safely conducted via the Web in this sensitive area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere94
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Domestic violence
  • EHealth
  • Ethics, research
  • Research design
  • Web-based trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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