Critical Appraisal Skills Programme

How to Critically Appraise a Randomised Controlled Trial

Randomised controlled trials are important and beneficial as they prevent selection bias by distributing the characteristics of patients that may influence the outcome randomly between groups. This means that any difference in outcome can be explained only by the treatment.

However, although RCTs are the highest level of evidence, they may not be of good quality and therefore a critical appraisal should always be carried out.

What is a randomised controlled trial?

A randomised controlled trial (RCT) is a primary research design (collects data directly from patients) that aims to assess the effectiveness of an intervention compared to a control.

What is critical appraisal of a randomised controlled trial?

  • To understand the basic elements of scientific research that apply to randomised controlled trials (RCTs)
  • To understand the key characteristics of the design of randomised controlled trials (RCTs)
  • To appreciate the potential sources of confounding and bias in randomised controlled trials (RCTs), and the effects of confounding and bias on the results
  • To be able to identify important quality markers when appraising randomised controlled trials

Expand your skills with our randomised controlled trial training courses

We offer eLearning courses in relation to performing critical appraisal of an RCT. Our eLearning covers:

  • Introduction to the critical appraisal of randomised controlled trials (RCTs)
  • How to use a CASP randomised controlled trial (RCT) checklist
  • Making sense of results: Measures of effectiveness in randomised controlled trials

We go into detail on:

  • Elements of scientific research that apply to randomised controlled trials
  • What an RCT is and what its uses are
  • Summary of key points from an RCT
  • What is Bias?
  • Quality markers in the Critical Appraisal of an RCT
  • Summary of key quality markers in an RCT
  • Interpreting results
  • Results expressed as a Difference
  • Results expressed as a Ratio
  • Relative vs. Absolute Measures
  • Importance of Confidence Intervals and P-Values
  • Calculating Measures of Effectiveness

Who will benefit from our eLearning courses?

Here is a list of job roles currently taking our eLearning courses below:

Senior Registrar Audiology Apprentice Clinical Lead Associate Specialist
Mental Health Specialist Clinician Dentist Director
Foundation Year Doctor Lecturer Nurse Nurse Researcher
Student OT Clinical Trials Investigator Trainee in Chemical Pathology Occupational Therapist
Physician Physiotherapist Senior Lecturer Biologist
Student Epidemiologist Clinical Nurse Specialist Clinical Pharmacist Consultant
Core Trainee Doctor Junior Doctor Oncologist
MSK Physio Nutrition Student Emergency Medicine Trainee Surgery Registrar
Trainee Doctor Optometrist PHD Student Program Evaluator

What our clients say about our courses?

Client satisfaction is very important to us and according to our most recent client survey, 99% of people in the above roles found the eLearning courses relevant and 96% found the content useful.
If you would like to find out more, please contact us today.

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