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Translational Behavioral Medicine now publishes research studies that have null results -

Scientific behavioural medicine journal Translational Behavioral Medicine now publishes research studies that have null results.

Some in the scientific community view null results research as a failure because, by its very definition, a null result means what you expected would happen in your study did not happen. Translational Behavioral Medicine (TBM) Editor-in-Chief Dr. Suzanne Miller-Halegoua, however, disagrees with that assessment.

TBM's first null results study, published Oct. 31, provides a perfect example. Researchers sent pregnant women text messages that encouraged them to be physically active. The researchers varied the frequency and timing of the messages, to see which combination helped the women the most. They expected one of the combinations to clearly stand out. But, to their surprise, none of the patterns increased the women's physical activity.

Because this study was published rather than discarded, future researchers now know text messages alone are not enough to increase physical activity in pregnant women. Rather than testing text messages again, they can move on to testing other ideas, like the use of pedometers or goal-setting strategies.

TBM's new emphasis on null results is proudly supported by the journal's owner, the Milwaukee-based Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), as well as its publisher, Springer Nature. The society recently began including null results research in scientific presentations at its annual conference.

TBM will consider papers with null findings if they have a strong research design and use advanced methods with appropriate statistical analysis. A necessary condition for publication is that the study is powered to accept the null hypothesis. Authors should include a detailed description of the hypothesis, intervention, recruitment strategy, and power calculation. They should also address the lessons learned as a result of the null findings, discuss how the null findings advance the field, and describe plans for future studies. Researchers can submit their null results work online.

Translational Behavioral Medicine (TBM) is an international peer-reviewed journal that offers continuous, online-first publication. The journal aims to engage, inform, and catalyze dialogue between the research, practice, and policy communities about behavioural medicine. The journal's 2015 impact factor is 2.189.

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