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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Stephen Gorard

Gorard, S., See, B.H. & Siddiqui, N. (2013). A Randomised Controlled Trial (or ‘Fair Test’): Evaluating an Educational Innovation. SAGE Research Methods Cases

Author(s) from Durham


This case describes a current evaluation of an educational intervention to help disadvantaged children catch up in literacy at around the time they transfer to their senior school. The evaluation is based on a randomised controlled trial design, which the case explains is the most appropriate for testing or establishing a causal claim. The case also demonstrates how necessary, how ethical and how easy it is to conduct such a trial. The trial naturally includes process evaluation, using in-depth approaches such as observation and interviews to assess how well the intervention is being conducted in practice. A crucial point is that the evaluators must have no vested interest in the success or failure of the intervention.