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An introduction to the use of randomized control trials to evaluate development interventions

Listed author(s):
  • White, Howard


    (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation)

RCTs have become popular in the development community as part of the response to the results agenda. These studies are well placed to address the question of which programmes work or not. And, properly designed, they can be embedded in a broader evaluation design which also addresses questions of why an intervention works in a specific context or not, and at what cost. Usually the appropriate design will not be a simple randomization drawn from an eligible list. So there are several decisions to be made in designing a RCT, and these decisions should be recorded in a study protocol which is placed in the public domain before the study begins. Many of the criticisms of RCTs can be responded to. But some require more reflection and research and have implications for the conduct of RCTs.

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Paper provided by International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) in its series 3ie Publications with number 2011-9.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
Handle: RePEc:ris:iiierp:2011_009
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Global Development Network, Post Box No. 7510, Vasant Kunj P.O., New Delhi

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  1. Anju Vajja & Howard White, 2008. "Can the World Bank Build Social Capital? The Experience of Social Funds in Malawi and Zambia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(8), pages 1145-1168.
  2. White, Howard, 2009. "Theory-Based Impact Evaluation," 3ie Publications 2009-3, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).
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