Behaviour change techniques taxonomy v1: Feedback to inform the development of an ontology

Elizabeth Corker, Marta M Marques, Marie Johnston, Robert West, Janna Hastings, Susan Michie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: To build cumulative evidence about what works in behaviour change interventions, efforts have been made to develop classification systems for specifying the content of interventions. The Behaviour Change Techniques (BCT) Taxonomy v1 (BCTTv1) is one of the most widely used classifications of behaviour change techniques across a variety of behaviours. The BCTTv1 was intentionally named version 1 to allow for further revisions to the taxonomy. This study aimed to gather data to improve the BCTTv1 and provide recommendations for developing it into a more elaborated knowledge structure, an ontology. Methods: Feedback from users of BCTTv1 about limitations and proposed improvements was collected through the BCT website, user survey, researchers and experts involved in the Human Behaviour-Change Project, and a consultation. In addition, relevant published research reports and other classification systems of BCTs were analysed. These data were synthesised to produce recommendations to inform the development of an ontology of BCTs. Results: A total of 282 comments from six sources were reviewed and synthesised into four categories of suggestions: additional BCTs, amendments to labels and definitions of specific BCTs, amendments to the groupings, and general improvements. Feedback suggested some lack of clarity regarding understanding and identifying techniques from labels, definitions, and examples; distinctions and relations between BCTs; and knowing what they would look like in practice. Three recommendations to improve the BCTTv1 resulted from this analysis: to review the label and definition of each BCT, the 16 groupings of BCTs, and the examples illustrating BCTs. Conclusions : This review of feedback about BCTTv1 identified the need to improve the precision and knowledge structure of the current taxonomy. A BCT ontology would enable the specification of relationships between BCTs, more precise definitions, and allow better interoperability with other ontologies. This ontology will be developed as part of the Human Behaviour-Change Project.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211
JournalWellcome Open Research
Early online dateAug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • behaviour change techniques
  • intervention reporting
  • ontology
  • taxonomy
  • user feedback


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