About the Study


We lack a shared language for describing the content, especially the active ingredients, of behaviour change interventions (i.e. the techniques that lead to behaviour change). This limits the possibility of replicating effective interventions, of synthesising evidence, and of understanding the causal mechanisms underlying behaviour change. In order to strengthen the knowledge base required for such interventions to be more effective, replicable and implementable, this study will develop methods to produce, and develop, an electronically accessible nomenclature of BCTs, together with evidence of its scientific rigour and acceptability to potential users.


The broad aims of this project are to i) develop a reliable and generalizable nomenclature of behaviour change techniques as a method for specifying, evaluating and implementing complex behavioural change interventions and ii) achieve its multidisciplinary and international acceptance and use to allow for its continous development.


  1. The first phase will develop the nomenclature. Experts in behaviour change will then define the key attributes of each technique and how it relates to and differs from others, using a consensus development method, the Delphi method.
  2. The second phase will test the nomenclature. Trained experts, equipped with a coding manual and guidance, will use the nomenclature to code published descriptions of complex interventions. Reliability between experts, over time and across types of user, will be assessed. We will also assess whether using the nomenclature to write intervention descriptions enhances the clarity and replicability of interventions.
  3. The third phase will develop a web-based users' resource of clearly specified and non-redundant techniques, and an interactive web-based platform (a Wiki).

Study Protocol

Michie, S., Abraham, C., Eccles, M., Francis, J., Hardeman, W., Johnston, M. (2011). Strengthening evaluation and implementation by specifying components of behaviour change interventions: a study protocol. Implementation Science, 6, 10. doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-10


Susan Michie¹, Marie Johnston¹², Charles Abraham³, Jill Francis², Wendy Hardeman⁴, Martin Eccles⁵

University College London₁, University of Aberdeen₂, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry₃, University of Cambridge₄, Newcastle University