Critical appraisal of a randomized clinical trial
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.
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