Can someone give me the source that spawned the “Randomized Controlled Trials Gold Standard?” I can’t find it, and usually I’m pretty good at finding these kinds of things. I’m not looking for support or opposition. I’m looking for the source.
Can someone name a person who comfortably claims the title “Randomista?” I’ve seen it used to classify the views of others, often hurled like an insult, but I haven’t seen anyone own it. Maybe I’m not paying close enough attention.
I’m no RCT expert, but I’ve seen discussion all over the place lately. The discussion is often filled with rhetoric and jargon. Which, of course, is the perfect breeding ground for cartoons.
If you want to follow my trail, here is a selection of works (posts/papers) that inspired this post:
Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst: Does Pre-k Work? It Depends How Picky You Are
Chris Blattman (response to Lant Pritchett): The latest in faith-based development: Randomized control trials?
Duncan Green (from last November): Lant Pritchett v the Randomistas on the Nature of Evidence – Is a Wonkwar Brewing?
Last fall I had a little expert help learning more about the topic. The cartoons were a bit more technical: Randomized Controlled Trials, 5 illustration collaboration with Jen Hamilton
RCTs as the Gold Standard
I really expected to quickly find a source for “RCT as the Gold Standard.” If you can source it, let me know and I’ll update the post.
4th Grade RCT
When I was in early childhood I had a boss who would say something like, “well fourth grade is not evidence-based.” We don’t really question whether or not kids should get a fourth grade education, but what if…
Does it work? Should we keep funding? Easy questions right?
I’m not a big fan of the term. Feels like fighting rhetoric with rhetoric.
RCT for RCTs
The thing I really don’t like about all the rhetoric is that it clouds over important arguments. AEA has a Research on Evaluation Topical Interest Group, I know they’re thinking about this stuff and remember reading a post about it on John Gargani’s Eval Blog.
There’s no silver bullet method. It’s the only thing I think I know for sure.