Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy

Online Training

About BCT Taxonomy

To replicate and implement behaviour change interventions in research and practice, we need an agreed language to report their content, that is, their ‘active ingredients’. A reliable method has been developed to specify content in terms of behaviour change techniques (BCTs), the smallest components of behaviour change interventions that on their own in favourable circumstances can bring about change. Several taxonomies, or structured lists of BCTs, have been developed for specific behaviours. This formed the basis of the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy project (2010-2013), funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council, to develop a consensually agreed, reliable taxonomy that could be used across behaviours, disciplines and areas of interest (e.g. health, the environment). It also developed a training programme and evaluated the taxonomy for coding and reporting interventions engaging more than 400 researchers, practitioners and policymakers in the work.

The resulting BCT Taxonomy v1 (BCTTv1) is a cross-domain, hierarchically structured taxonomy of 93 distinct BCTs with labels, definitions and examples. Two formats of user training were developed, one day workshops and four session distance group tutorials, and found to improve competence in identifying BCTs in intervention descriptions. Trained coders reliably coded 80 of the 93 BCTs, successfully identified 14 of the 15 BCTs present in published intervention descriptions, with reliability maintained over one month.

Thus BCTTv1 offers a generally reliable method for specifying, interpreting and implementing the active ingredients of interventions to change behaviours. It is a useable method for both research and practitioner communities.

For further details of this work, see Michie, S., Richardson, M., Johnston, M., Abraham, C., Francis, J., Hardeman, W., Wood, C. E. (2013). The behavior change technique taxonomy (v1) of 93 hierarchically clustered techniques: building an international consensus for the reporting of behavior change interventions. Ann Behav Med, 46(1), 81-95. doi: 10.1007/s12160-013-9486-6

And the project website:

This work is being taken forward in two ways:

  1. Developing a method to link BCTs to theory: Michie S, Johnston M, Rothman AJ, Kelly M, de Bruin M. Developing methodology for designing and evaluating theory-based complex interventions: an ontology for linking behaviour change techniques to theory, funded by the UK Medical Research Council; 2014
  2. Developing cross-disciplinary research and evidence translation: Via the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change