Randomised controlled trials: past, present and prospects for the future – a personal perspective

Oct 24

Venue: Hilton Deansgate, 303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ

Wed 24 October 2018

Stephen Morris, Professor of Evaluation at PERU will discuss the past present and future prospects for Randomised Controlled Trials at the Social Research Association 40th Anniversary Lecture.

Randomised trials since their development in agriculture and medicine have become an increasingly prominent and somewhat controversial feature of the social research and policy evaluation landscapes. The extent of interest and attention paid to randomised research designs by policy makers and researchers has seen two noticeable surges in interest. First in connection to the call for ‘evidence-based’ policy making around the late 1990s/early 2000s; and second, in response to the growing interest in so called ‘behavioural insights’ and establishment of the What Works Centres under the 2010 coalition government. In this lecture, the speaker will discuss some of the factors that drove early and later interest in the use of randomised designs in policy evaluation.  Drawing on experience in the civil service, independent research institutes and lately in academia, the speaker will offer some personal reflections on the enduring appeal of randomisation; share some thoughts on contemporary practice; as well as observations on future prospects for the continued use of such approaches.

The event starts at 5.30 and finishes with a drinks reception that starts at 7.15pm

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