Randomised controlled trials in primary care: scope and application

Aziz Sheikh, Liam Smeeth, Richard Ashcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is now widespread acknowledgement of the absence of a sound evidence base underpinning many of the decisions made in primary care. Randomised controlled trials represent the methodology of choicefor determining efficacy and effectiveness of interventions, yet researchers working in primary care have been reluctant to use intervention studies, favouring observational study designs. Unfamiliarity with the different trial designs now available, and the relative advantages and disadvantages conferred by each, may be one factor contributing to this paradox. In this paper, we consider the principal trial designs available to primary care researchers, discussing the contexts in which a particular design may prove most useful. This information will, we hope, also prove useful to primary care clinicians attempting to interpret trial findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-51
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number482
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Bias
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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