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A dark art comes to the water‐cooler: a review of some key texts on RCTs for children's services professionals and researchers

Tim Hobbs (Dartington Social Research Unit, UK)
Matthew Carr (University of Arkansas, UK)
Marc Holley (University of Arkansas, UK)
Nathan Gray (University of Arkansas, UK)
Nick Axford (Dartington Social Research Unit, UK)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 13 March 2008

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Abstract

The need for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to support evidence‐based services to improve outcomes for children is increasingly recognised by researchers and policy‐makers. However, this brings a pressing requirement to build research capacity for conducting RCTs and to address the concerns of practitioners who may be suspicious about the method. This article reviews a variety of texts on the subject, ranging from analyses of the historical and political context of RCTs, to concise introductions of the key methodological and practical issues, to more in‐depth discussions of complex designs and statistics. The article seeks to help readers navigate these resources by focusing on seven questions that seem particularly salient for those considering whether and how to commission, undertake, participate in or use results from RCTs.

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Citation

Hobbs, T., Carr, M., Holley, M., Gray, N. and Axford, N. (2008), "A dark art comes to the water‐cooler: a review of some key texts on RCTs for children's services professionals and researchers", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 40-50. https://doi.org/10.1108/17466660200800005

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited