Missing data study

Missing data has a huge impact on research, reducing the reliability of research findings. Here in the Wolfson Centre for Palliative Care, we are addressing why this happens and making recommendations how to to reduce research waste due to missing data.

About the project

Funder: NIHR Doctoral Training Fellowship
Time frame: 2014 - 2017: Completed
Contact for more details: Dr Jamilla Hussain (

Approximately 85% of research is wasted. Missing data (MD) reduces research finding reliability. This study showed that:

  1. MD were poorly reported
  2. A quarter of primary endpoint outcome data were missing
  3. MD were more likely for:
    • Participants with poor performance status and previous MD
    • Trials that requested more data and that were of a longer duration
    • Sites with more randomisations and fewer research personnel


  • Expansion of CONSORT criteria for reporting MD
  • Implementation of principled approaches to handle MD
  • Address participant, trial and site-level factors associated with MD, to reduce MD-associated research waste in palliative care trials.

Outputs and resources

Hussain JA, Bland JM, Langan D, Johnson MJ, Currow DC, White IW. Quality of missing data reporting and handling in palliative care trials demonstrates that further development of the CONSORT missing data reporting guidance is required: a systematic review JCE 2017 88:81-91

Hussain JA, White IR, Langan D, Johnson MJ, Currow DC, Torgerson DJ, Bland JM. Missing data in randomized controlled trials testing palliative interventions pose a significant risk of bias and loss of power: a systematic review and meta-analyses. J Clin Epidemiol. 2016 Jun;74:57-65