Test, Learn, Adapt: Developing Public Policy with Randomised Controlled Trials

Laura Haynes, Owain Service,  Ben Goldacre, David Torgerson. Cabinet Office. Behavioral Insights Team. 2012. Available as pdf

Executive Summary
Part 1 – What is an RCT and why are they important?
What is a randomised controlled trial?
The case for RCTs-debunking some myths:
1.We don’t necessarily know‘what works’
2. RCTs don’t have to cost a lot of money
3 There are ethical advantages to using RCTs
4. RCTs do not have to be complicated or difficult to run
PART II-Conducting an RCT: 9 key steps
Step1: Identify two or more policy interventions to compare
Step 2: Define the outcome that the policy is intended to influence
Step 3: Decide on the randomisation unit
Step 4: Determine how many units are rquired for robust results
Step 5: Assign each unit to one of the polivy interventions using a robustly random method
Step 6: Introduce the poicy interventions to the assigned groups
Step 7: Measure the results and determine the impact of the policy interventions
Step 8: Adapt your policy intervention to reflect your findings
Step 9: Return to step 1


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