Doctor: Van Thu Nguyen

Title: Impact of mobilising collective intelligence in clinical research planning

Supervisors: Isabelle Boutron, Bridget Young

Doctoral school: ED 393 Epidemiology and Biomedical Information Sciences, Université Paris Cité

Date of thesis defense: 03/09/2020

Jury: Katie Gilles, Florian Naudet, Lenny Verkooijen, Pierre-Yves Ancel, Isabelle Boutron, Bridget Young


New methods of conducting research have been emerging outside clinical research. For example, worldwide game players helped to construct protein molecular which scientists had been struggling with for 15 years. In these examples, researchers leveraged collective intelligence of people who were not usually involved in research. My research aims to investigate whether and how mobilising collective intelligence could be used in the planning of a randomised controlled trial.

To achieve this aim, I first conducted a scoping review to describe the methods of mobilising collective intelligence across different research fields. From this scoping review, I proposed a framework for implementing a research project using these new methods.

Second, I conducted a qualitative study involving online survey and semi-structured interviews to investigators, researchers or coordinators of research projects mobilising collective intelligence. Drawing on their experience, I provided good practice advice for the governance, planning, and conducting of research involving collective intelligence.

Finally, I developed a proof-of-concept study using case vignettes to leverage patients’ collective intelligence to improve trial organisation. Patients proposed several suggestions to improve the logistical organisation of trials. They also highlighted the importance of changing one-size-fits-all approach of trial organisation.

In conclusion, the work in this thesis provides the first comprehensive accounts of methods used to mobilise collective intelligence across different research disciplines. The proof-of-concept study provided an example of leveraging patients’ collective intelligence to explore ideas and perspectives to improve clinical trial planning.

Link to download the thesis

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