Understanding the Hawthorn effect in wound research—A scoping review Academic Article uri icon


  • The Hawthorne Effect (HE) is considered a methodological artefact in research, although its definition and influence on research outcomes lack consensus. This review explored how this term has been mentioned and discussed in the area of wound research. A scoping review was conducted on ProQuest Central, Scopus, EbscoHost, and online databases of indexed wound journals using the methodological framework by Arksey and Malley. A review protocol was applied to detail key terms, truncation and Boolean operators, and inclusion and exclusion criteria. Search findings were reported using PRISMA guidelines. A total of 38 articles reporting primary evidence were identified. Three themes emerged from the review: wound researchers' awareness of HE, the acknowledgement of the existence or otherwise of HE, and the mentioning of HE in passing. These results reflect a lack of attention to and understanding and awareness of the HE in the area of wound research. It is suggested that the HE receives more attention as a methodological concern, and its potential influence is considered and mitigated when planning future studies. Recommendations are provided to minimise the impact of the HE on the rigour of the research and confidence afforded to research findings.

publication date

  • 2018