Publication details for Prof Nancy CartwrightCartwright, N. (2011). A philosopher's view of the long road from RCTs to effectiveness. The Lancet 377(9775): 1400-1401.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0140-6736, 1474-547X
- DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60563-1
- Further publication details on publisher web site
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Author(s) from Durham
For evidence-based practice and policy, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are the current gold standard. But exactly why? We know that RCTs do not, without a series of strong assumptions, warrant predictions about what happens in practice. But just what are these assumptions? I maintain that, from a philosophical stance, answers to both questions are obscured because we don't attend to what causal claims say. Causal claims entering evidence-based medicine at different points say different things and, I would suggest, failure to attend to these differences makes much current guidance about evidence for medical and social policy misleading.