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Randomized Controlled Studies
A randomized controlled study is one in which:
Having a control group allows us to compare the treatment with alternative choices. For instance, the statement that a particular medication cures 40% of cases tells us very little unless we also know how many cases get better on their own! (Or with a different treatment).
With certain research questions, randomized controlled studies cannot be done for ethical reasons. For instance, it would be unethical to attempt to measure the effect of smoking on health by asking one group to smoke two packs a day and another group to abstain, since the smoking group would be subject to unnecessary harm.
Randomized controlled trials are the standard method of answering
questions about the effectiveness of different therapies. If you have
a therapy question, first look for a randomized controlled trial, and
only go on to look for other types of studies if you don't find one.