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A comparison of randomised controlled trials in health and education

Torgerson, C.J., Torgerson, D.J., Birks, Y.F. and Porthouse, J. (2005) A comparison of randomised controlled trials in health and education. British Educational Research Journal, 31 (6). pp. 761-785. ISSN 0141-1926

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Health care and educational trials face similar methodological challenges. Methodological reviews of health care trials have shown that a significant proportion have methodological flaws. Whether or not educational trials have a similar proportion of poor-quality trials is unknown. The authors undertook a methodological comparison between health care and educational trials published since 1990. The authors aimed (1) to assess whether the quality of trial reports in education and health care are similar; and (2) to assess whether trial reporting quality is improving. The characteristics of a sample of trials, published since 1990, were taken from health and educational journals. Trials were assessed using the following quality criteria: rationale for sample size; concealment of allocation; blinded follow-up; use of confidence intervals; adequate sample size. Ninety-six placebo drug trials and 54 non-drug trials published in major general journals were identified. These were compared with 54 trials in specialist health journals and 84 trials in educational journals. No educational trial used concealed allocation or reported the rationale for sample size calculation and only one trial used confidence intervals. There was a trend for the reporting of health care trials to improve with time, whilst the reporting quality of educational trials declined. The authors concluded that poor quality of trial reporting is more prevalent in educational journals than in health care journals.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Institute for Effective Education (York)
The University of York > Health Sciences (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2009 14:26
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2009 14:26
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01411920500314919
Status: Published
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Identification Number: 10.1080/01411920500314919
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5703

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