Critics and Criticisms
Consumers of information from trials must be able to size up the critics and criticisms of trials. There is no perfect trial. Hence, every trial is subject to criticism, so the issue is not whether or not there are criticisms, but rather what to make of them. The fundamental question always is whether the criticisms are sufficient to cause the reader to doubt or dismiss the results. This chapter begins with a brief description of the three general types of critics: clever critics, pontifical critics, and “Joe Friday” critics. It then presents a list of criticisms that researchers can ignore, being “universal criticisms,” that apply to any trial and, hence, should be viewed with a jaundiced eye unless supported by the facts.
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