Randomised controlled trials: an introduction for nurse researchers
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Randomised controlled trials: an introduction for nurse researchers

Suzanne Bench Lecturer in nursing, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, UK
Tina Day Lecturer in nursing, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, UK
Alison Metcalfe Professor of health care research, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, UK

Aim To present an overview of the main components of randomised controlled trials and identify issues for consideration during their design and management.

Background Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are considered to be the gold standard for determining causality and can provide high quality evidence to inform nursing practice.

Data sources A search of online databases and websites was undertaken to identify relevant contemporary literature to inform the discussion.

Discussion/Conclusion Conducting a robust randomised controlled trial can present researchers with numerous challenges and practical considerations. The importance of taking account of the Consort guidelines during their design, conduct and reporting is emphasised.

Implications for research/practice Evidence from well conducted RCTs contributes to the development of effective nursing interventions. To avoid bias and ensure valid results, the design, conduct and reporting of RCTs should follow the Consort guidelines. Service users should be involved in the design and management of RCTs.

Nurse Researcher. 20, 5, 38-44. doi: 10.7748/nr2013.05.20.5.38.e312

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Accepted: 18 June 2012

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