David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal of Educational Studies 51 (1):36 - 45 (2003)
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are often seen as the 'gold standard' of evaluative research. However, whilst randomisation will ensure comparable groups, trials are still vulnerable to a range of biases that can undermine their internal validity. In this paper we describe a number of common threats to the internal validity of RCTs and methods of countering them. We highlight a number of examples from randomised trials in education and health care where problems of execution and analysis of the RCT has undermined their internal validity. However, awareness of these potential biases can lead to careful planning to avoid or reduce their occurrence. If good quality randomised trials are to inform policy and practice in education then rigorous trials need to be designed that are the least susceptible to threats to their validity.
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Vanora Hundley, Helen Cheyne, J. Martin Bland, Maggie Styles & Carol A. Barnett (2010). So You Want to Conduct a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial? Lessons From a National Cluster Trial of Early Labour. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (3):632-638.
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