Combining qualitative studies with randomised controlled trials is often useful

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7057.629 (Published 07 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:629
  1. Tim Weaver, MRC research fellow in health services research,
  2. Adrian Renton, Senior lecturer in public health medicine,
  3. Peter Tyrer, Professor of community psychiatry,
  4. Jana Ritchie, Director
  1. Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's, London W2 1PG
  2. Qualitative Research Unit, Social and Community Planning Research, London EC1V 0AX

    EDITOR,—Nick Black points out some of the limitations of randomised controlled trials but fails to mention that such trials rarely tell us why an intervention was successful or not.1 Pharmacological studies may provide this vital information for drug interventions, but for other interventions, especially those that involve packages of services, randomised controlled trials are unlikely to do so. Black suggests that we should be open to using alternative designs, but he specifically excludes qualitative methods from consideration. We believe that …

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