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Critical Appraisal of Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials$
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Mark Elwood

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198529552

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529552.001.0001

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Critical appraisal of a randomized clinical trial

Chapter:
(p.361) Chapter 10 Critical appraisal of a randomized clinical trial
Source:
Critical Appraisal of Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials
Author(s):

J. Mark Elwood

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529552.003.10

This chapter presents an example of the application of the scheme for critical appraisal: a randomized clinical trial entitled ‘Chloramphenicol treatment for acute infective conjunctivitis in children in primary care: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial’, published in The Lancet in 2005. This study illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of randomized trials. The strengths are that with reasonable confidence, confounding and observation bias can be excluded as explanations for the results seen. The main weakness is that despite the enormous effort involved, the study is still limited in terms of size, and the main results are close to the conventional 5% cut-off for statistical significance.

Keywords:   randomized trial, critical appraisal, causal relationships, chloramphenicol treatment, conjunctivitis

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