Randomised controlled trials and health services research

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6972.125d (Published 14 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:125
  1. Sasha Shepperd,
  2. Crispin Jenkinson,
  3. Patrick Morgan
  1. Research officer Deputy director Health Services Research Unit, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6HE
  2. Consultant in public health medicine Northamptonshire Health Authority, Northamptonshire NN1 5DN

    EDITOR,—Randomised controlled trials are viewed as the gold standard for medical research, and are advocated as an appropriate method for evaluating almost any medical intervention. However, they are neither universally applicable1 nor, as Ian R McWhinney and colleagues show,2 always realistically possible. Although they have been advocated as appropriate for use in health services research, serious problems can arise in practice that affect whether the data …

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