Introduction to the critical appraisal of randomised controlled trials
In this module, we introduce you to the critical appraisal of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). The module begins by looking at the basic elements of scientific research that apply to randomised controlled trials, and goes on to consider the key characteristics of the design of randomised controlled trials. We then outline the potential sources of confounding and bias that can affect the results of randomised controlled trials, which must be taken into account when considering whether to use the results to change your routine practice. Finally, we highlight the important quality markers to look out for when appraising randomised controlled trials.
Erica Ison is the lead for the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme at the Oxford Centre for Triple Value Healthcare. She is an experienced trainer/facilitator in a range of fields and has worked with a variety of people from health and care professionals and third sector personnel to politicians, students and members of the public.
Erica also designs and develops training and skills development courses, tailored for local, national and international audiences. Erica is an Expert Adviser to the World Health Organization European Network of Healthy Cities, and one of her main responsibilities is training and skills development. Erica also worked on the European Union’s Equity Action programme training civil servants in assessing the impact of government policies on equity.