PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Two Cheers for Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs)

Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) are criticized for a variety of reasons in the philosophy of science (Worrall 2002, Cartwright and Hardie 2015). In this paper, we make the case for a more nuanced understanding of the way in which RCTs are used in practice. We show that firstly, there is a great variety of how RCTs are used, both across disciplines and within narrowly defined fields. Secondly, we show that RTCs are often productively embedded in evidence-based policy-making and have wider contextual benefits, such as raising awareness and interest in evidence-based thinking in practice.

Author Information:

Sarah Heilmann    
Dartington Social Research Unit

Conrad Heilmann    
Erasmus University Rotterdam


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