Two groups of game pieces with one in the middle

Randomised Controlled Trials

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) help identify whether a change in policy, intervention or practice results in changes in outcomes. RCTs randomly assign people into two groups: 'treatment' and 'control'. The intervention or change is applied to the treatment group but not the control group and the outcomes of both groups are observed.

Being able to isolate and test different policy decisions produces the best evidence for decision makers. Well-executed RCTs minimise the possibility that observed changes in outcomes are a result of different changes to the one tested. Often, policy changes are implemented without knowledge of their impact; RCTs allow us to understand 'what would have happened otherwise'.

RAND Europe uses RCTs for simple and complex social interventions in several areas of policy, including education, employment and criminal justice. We have expertise in planning and undertaking all elements of both randomised trials and the process evaluations that enable us to answer the 'why' and 'how' questions about results.

Featured Research

  • 11 Apr 2016

    Evaluating the Accelerated Reader Scheme

    An evaluation of Renaissance Learning's AR scheme will explore whether the programme has a positive effect on the reading comprehension of randomly assigned pupils, particularly those who are eligible for free school meals.

Selected Research

  • Evaluating the Wellbeing Premium Programme

    01 Oct 2018

    Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often find it hard to invest in the health and wellbeing of their employees, or do not invest at all. Researchers are evaluating a randomised controlled trial of a financial incentive programme to improve employee health and wellbeing in SMEs in the West Midlands.

  • Evaluating NELI, the evidence-based Nuffield Early Language Intervention

    13 Aug 2018

    RAND Europe is conducting a randomised controlled trial into the effectiveness of NELI, a language support programme designed to improve children’s vocabulary, listening and narrative skills. The study aims to understand both the impact of the intervention and how effectively it is implemented.

  • Exploring Why an Incentivised Pay Study Failed to Recruit Enough Teachers

    05 Feb 2018

    Researchers tried to conduct a randomised control trial to understand whether UK teachers could be motivated with incentivised pay and coaching, but they failed to recruit enough participants. To help future studies, they changed their research to explore why the recruitment effort failed.

  • Evaluating Digital Feedback in Primary Maths

    04 Nov 2016

    The Kyra School Alliance seeks to maximise the impact of teachers’ feedback on pupils’ outcome through the use of video. Researchers are conducting an efficiency trial of this intervention along with a process evaluation to understand how the intervention improves pupil outcomes.

  • RCT to Evaluate the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants Programme

    03 Nov 2016

    Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) aims to develop ways in which UK teaching assistants can improve students’ outcomes. An efficacy randomised control trial will evaluate whether, under ideal conditions, the programme has a positive impact.

  • Body-Worn Cameras Associated with Increased Assaults Against Police

    01 Jun 2016

    Rates of assault against police officers are 15% higher when they wear cameras, possibly because they feel more confident about reporting assaults once they are captured on camera or because the officers did not keep their cameras on throughout their shift.