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Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials

Cartwright, N; Deaton, A

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A Deaton


What allows research evidence to contribute to successful social policy and improve practice in public services? The establishment of the What Works Network, a group of evidence ‘clearing houses’, that summarise academic research evidence for practitioners in different policy areas, heralds a resurgence of evidence-based approaches in British policymaking. This report outlines the existing literature analysing the process of implementing evidence-informed policy, with a particular focus on the field of primary and secondary education. New data, based on interviews with teachers in primary and secondary schools, along with the analysis of existing literature, suggest that understanding the rationale for a particular policy approach and recognising relevant contextual factors are crucial for selecting and implementing successful policies. This suggests that local knowledge, as well as professional judgement and expertise, are critical contributors to policymaking alongside formal scientific research evidence.


Cartwright, N., & Deaton, A. (2016). Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials

Publication Date Aug 1, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 25, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 3, 2018
Series Title CHESS Working Papers
Publisher URL


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