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Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) for quantitative social researchers - online


Course Information

Four colour NCRM logo

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are heralded as the gold standard of research design in the social sciences. RCT principles are used in research at all levels of complexity from evaluating national social policies to experimenting with the impact of website designs (there often known as A/B testing). This course is for social researchers who have a firm grasp of the foundations of quantitative research methods (e.g., linear regression and confidence intervals) and would like to learn how to design and analyse randomised controlled trials. The course incorporates a blend of presentations and participatory sessions, using examples from the social sciences.

Course Code


Course Leader

Terry Ng-Knight
Course Description

The course covers:

  • The fundamental problem of causal inference and how randomisation helps
  • Neyman–Rubin’s potential outcomes framework
  • An overview of RCTs, from idea and preregistration to final analysis and report
  • Methods of randomisation
  • Choosing a sample size
  • Current best practice in analysing data from RCTs
  • Managing “non-compliance” and other threats to study validity

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Explain the life cycle of an RCT
  • Explain the benefits and costs of different RCT designs
  • Use the potential outcomes framework to define what can be estimated in an RCT
  • Choose a sample size for common designs
  • Apply prior knowledge of quantitative analysis to RCTs
  • Identify and address common threats to validity in RCTs


IMPORTANT: Please note that this course includes computer workshops. Before registering please check that you will be able to access the software noted below. Please bear in mind minimum system requirements to run software and administration restrictions imposed by your institution or employer which may block the installation of software.

The course will include practical activities using PowerUp! which is freely available and runs as a Microsoft Excel macro.

It is assumed that participants have a firm grasp of the foundation of quantitative methods used in social science, such as linear regression and confidence intervals.

It will also facilitate the course if participants have a specific idea for an RCT they would ideally like to run.



Online across two consecutive mornings 9.30am-12.30pm (Equal to one full day)

StartEndPlaces LeftCourse Fee 
11/09/202412/09/20240[Read More]

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