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Critical appraisal of a randomized clinical trial 

Critical appraisal of a randomized clinical trial
Chapter:
Critical appraisal of a randomized clinical trial
Author(s):

Mark Elwood

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199682898.003.0012
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date: 23 October 2019

This chapter presents a randomised trial carried out in primary care in the UK, assessing the use of an antibiotic, chloramphenicol, for acute eye infections (conjunctivitis) in children. This study shows the challenges of conducting a high quality randomised trial in primary care, including issues of the appropriate assessment of outcome. The critical assessment follows the scheme set out in chapter 10: describing the study, assessing the non-causal explanations of observation bias, confounding, and chance variation; assessing time relationships, strength, dose-response, consistency and specificity, and applying the results to the eligible, source, and target populations; and then comparing the results with evidence from other studies, considering consistency and specificity, biological mechanisms, and coherence with the distribution of exposures and outcomes. The chapter gives a summary and table of the critical assessment and its conclusions; and comments on the impact of the study and research carried out since.

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