Intended for healthcare professionals


Oakley's case for using randomised controlled trials is misleading

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 03 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:944
  1. Don Nutbeam, Professor of public health (
  1. Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

    EDITOR—Oakley examines lessons in the history of the use of randomised controlled trials to evaluate social interventions.1 Her examination provides a misleading assessment of their usefulness in the evaluation of contemporary health promotion interventions. She suggests that randomised controlled trials are “ignored or regarded with suspicion” by the discipline of health promotion and that “experts … have resisted the notion that rigorous evaluation of their …

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