Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) yield essential information about potential therapeutic interventions when the optimal treatment for a condition is unknown. They provide a basis for a causal inference about the effects of medication on quality of life by virtue of their experimental design. The authors discuss the various ways that the emphasis of effectiveness research studies, which observes what takes place under existing circumstances, differ from that of a typical RCT, with particular focus on selection of participants, assessment of study variables, and analyses of outcomes data.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.