Publication details for Professor Nancy CartwrightCowen, N., Virk, B., Mascarenhan-Keyes, S. & Cartwright, N. (2017). Randomized Controlled Trials: How Can We Know “What Works”? Critical Review 29(3): 265-292.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0891-3811, 1933-8007
- DOI: 10.1080/08913811.2017.1395223
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
“Evidence-based” methods, which most prominently include randomized controlled trials, have gained increasing purchase as the “gold standard” for assessing the effect of public policies. But the enthusiasm for evidence-based research overlooks questions about the reliability and applicability of experimental findings to diverse real-world settings. Perhaps surprisingly, a qualitative study of British educators suggests that they are aware of these limitations and therefore take evidence-based findings with a much larger grain of salt than do policy makers. Their experience suggests that the real world is more heterogeneous than the world imagined by evidence-based policy enthusiasts.