Framing Effects and Study Design Considerations in Stated Preference Research

The International Academy of Health Preference Research (IAHPR) is a relatively new network of multidisciplinary researchers with expertise in stated preference methods. The latest IAHPR meeting took place in Glasgow on 4th November 2017, prior to the ISPOR European Congress.

OHE’s Koonal Shah attended the meeting, presenting his latest research on societal preferences regarding the value of life-extending end of life treatments. A review of the existing evidence had indicated that the findings of end of life-related preference studies may depend on particular features of the studies, such as the ways in which the preference elicitation tasks were presented. Koonal’s study attempted to explore this further by examining how people’s preferences are influenced by framing effects and study design considerations.

The study used an online survey to elicit preferences from a large, representative sample of the UK general public. Respondents were randomly allocated to one of six study arms, each of which applied a different framing. Most of the questions required respondents to adopt a social decision maker perspective, making choices on behalf of the health service. In order to examine the influence of study perspective, a further question asked respondents to adopt an individual perspective, making choices that related to their own health.

Respondents’ choices were found to be sensitive to the choice of perspective, and to the inclusion of indifference options and (to a lesser extent) visual aids. The findings demonstrate the influence of framing effects and study design considerations in stated preference research. Researchers should seek to control for such effects when seeking to examine people’s health care priority setting preferences.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Aki Tsuchiya and Allan Wailoo of the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research. Selected findings were also presented in a poster at the recent ISPOR European Congress.

Related publications include:

  • Shah, K.K., 2016. Is willingness to pay higher for cancer prevention and treatment? Journal of Cancer Policy, 11, pp.60-64. [available to download free-of-charge]
  • Shah, K.K., 2016. Does society place special value on end of life treatments? In: Round, J. ed. Care at the end of life: An economic perspective. Cham: Springer. pp. 155-166. [available here]
  • Shah, K.K., Tsuchiya, A. and Wailoo, A.J., 2015. Valuing health at the end of life: A stated preference discrete choice experiment. Social Science & Medicine, 124, pp.48-56. [available to download free-of-charge]

For more information on OHE’s research on social values, please contact Koonal Shah.

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