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RCT research design methodology - Essay Example

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(1999) in ‘Ultrasound Therapy for Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder’. Their rationale was to rigorously evaluate the efficacy of using ultrasound therapy to treat calcific tendinitis of the shoulder since it has not been explored as yet. I will discuss the randomisation (random sampling and random allocation) and blinding process used throughout the article as they are essential features of a successful RCT. This will be followed by an exploration of the way the researchers have used these features in their study and if the methodological design was applicable to their study. The essay will also examine the fundamental principles of each feature and the significance of their contribution to the results of the study. Finally, the limitations of the RCT used in the study are discussed. RCTs help in determining whether an intervention and its outcome have a cause and effect relationship or not. RCTs are used by many disciplines due to their efficacy in measuring the true impact of an intervention within the clinical setting whilst minimising bias. Bias refers to subjective prejudice in operations. It can be both conscious and subconscious but impacts results greatly. Randomisation, which is a key feature in a RCT, offers a number of considerable benefits to the researchers. In a RCT, all participants have equal chances of being associated to any particular group. Some of the main benefits of randomisation include elimination of bias, reduced chances of participants influence on treatment

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selection, production of more comparable groups and ensured validity of statistical tests (Rosenberger & Lachin 2002). In a research procedure, the first step is randomisation of the selection of participants (random sampling). The second step is the random allocation of the participants to one of the groups in the study. The principle of random sampling is that everyone or every sampling unit in the study population should have a predetermined (non-zero) chance, usually an equal chance of being selected out of the population being researched. This is probably the most important element of RCTs that contributes to eliminating bias and improving validity of the study, both internally and externally. In this particular study by Ebenbichler et al. (1999), the sampling technique was described as being a multicentre sample of volunteers from the participation of outpatient clinics. The researchers referred the ones who showed interest in treatment to the outpatient clinic of the university hospital of Vienna. To be entitled to participate in the study, they needed to satisfy the inclusion criteria of idiopathic calcific tendinitis type one or type two. Unfortunately the authors did not provide sufficient information on the selection process from the target population. Based on the information provided in the paper, I believe their chosen method of sampling was convenient sampling in which researchers gather data from one or multiple places, settings or sources. Researchers often choose convenience sampling because it is a cost-effective method of choosing an institution or area. Despite the advantages for the authors, this type of sampling is also a weak method as it can introduce bias and limits the transferability of outcomes to the target population. During the sampling process in Ebenbichler et al. (1999), confounding factors may have occurred. In this study, there was a difference in the baseline values. Although the difference was minimal in terms of the
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Summary

A critical review of the two main features of a randomised control trial with reference to an original article by Ebenbichler, G.R., Erdogmus, C.B., Resch, K.L., Funovics, M.A., Kainberger, F., Barisani, G., Aringer, M., Nicolakis, P., Wiesinger, G.F., Baghestanian, M., Preisinger, E…
Author : gerholdlacey
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