Why randomized interventional studies

La Caze, Adam (2013) Why randomized interventional studies. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 38 4: 352-368. doi:10.1093/jmp/jht028

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Author La Caze, Adam
Title Why randomized interventional studies
Journal name Journal of Medicine and Philosophy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0360-5310
Publication date 2013-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/jmp/jht028
Open Access Status
Volume 38
Issue 4
Start page 352
End page 368
Total pages 17
Place of publication Cary, NC, United States
Publisher Oxford University Press
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A number of arguments have shown that randomization is not essential in experimental design. Scientific conclusions can be drawn on data from experimental designs that do not involve randomization. John Worrall has recently taken proponents of randomized studies to task for suggesting otherwise. In doing so, however, Worrall makes an additional claim: randomized interventional studies are epistemologically equivalent to observational studies, providing the experimental groups are comparable according to background knowledge. I argue against this claim. In the context of testing the efficacy of drug therapies, well-designed interventional studies are epistemologically superior to well-designed observational studies because they have the capacity to avoid a type of selection bias. Although arguments for interventional studies are present in the medical literature, these arguments are too often presented as an argument for randomization. Randomization in interventional studies is defended on Bayesian grounds.
Keyword Epidemiology
Evidence-based medicine
Evidence in medicine
Observational studies
Randomized controlled trials
Coronary heart-disease
Replacement therapy
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Pharmacy Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 01 Sep 2013, 00:03:21 EST by System User on behalf of School of Pharmacy