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2014 Methods Workshop: Randomized Controlled Trials and Experimental Design

  • January 2014
  • Event

The Methods Workshop took place on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, from 2–5:30 p.m.

The objectives for the workshop included:

  • Review with attendees advantages of experiments for causal inference, policy/program evaluation.
  • Discuss data collection issues, including ethical considerations.
  • Provide and discuss examples of experimental or RCT designs, basic analysis and interpretation of results.

Suleiman Asman, research manager at IPA-Kenya, provided an overview on RCTs and running experiments, including rationale for randomizing, the importance of developing a theory of change, and a step-by-step review of a completed RCT project.

Gisella Kagy, University of Colorado, described the application of “randomized controlled trials” to population-level research, noting how the conditions of randomization and control differ at the population-level from conditions in a laboratory or clinic. She described the design issues, noting some of the pitfalls, and used the Matlab site and the multi-generational effects of MCH/FP intervention to provide an example.

Willa Friedman, Center for Global Development, described the girls’ merit scholarship program (GSP) experiment in Kenya and the long-term effects of the scholarship program, focusing on the design of the observational study that followed the randomized experiment. She highlighted the importance of assessing the balance of the treatment and control groups across key covariates in follow-up and presented results with respect to impact on autonomy within the household.


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