Intended for healthcare professionals


Experimental and observational methods of evaluation

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 20 August 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:540
  1. N Black
  1. Department of Public Health and Policy, Health Services Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT.

    EDITOR, - Trevor A Sheldon's editorial perpetuates the false dichotomy between experimental and observational research.1 Once again an advocate of randomised controlled trials seeks to discredit evaluative research that uses observational data as if the two methods were alternatives rather than complementary approaches. Extremist supporters of either camp offer unacceptably simple accounts.

    Of course in some people's ideal world every intervention in the biological and social spheres would be evaluated with a …

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