RCTs (Randomised Controlled Trials) came under scrutiny (again). First a study in the BMJ showed that large effects in small RCTs are rarely followed with larger RCTs to double check, but when they are, 43% fail to find an effect.
Then some CGD researchers took exception to Action Aid and Education International commissioning counter-research to their RCT on Charter Schools in Liberia. Are RCTs neutral and objective (so AA & EI are indulging in a ‘blanket dismissal of evidence’), or inherently flawed and/or biased (so some counterbalancing qualitative research is entirely sensible, and at $30k, a lot cheaper than an RCT)? Discuss.
And two comedic highlights of a pretty awful week.
A bad lip reading of the Presidential inauguration. Priceless
Not only are the Dutch setting up an international safe abortion fund to plug the $600m funding gap caused by reinstatement of the US “global gag rule” but they also produced the funniest spoof of the week. The Netherlands explains itself to the new US pres, in his own style. 14m hits and counting. Respect.
This is a conversational blog written and maintained by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB and author of ‘From Poverty to Power’. This personal reflection is not intended as a comprehensive statement of Oxfam's agreed policies.