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


11/09/2024 - 12/09/2024

Organised by:

The National Centre for Social Research (an NCRM Centre Partner)


Terry Ng-Knight


Intermediate (some prior knowledge)


NatCen Learning - natcenlearning@natcen.ac.uk

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Venue: Online


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.

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

The course runs on two consecutive mornings from 0930 to 1230 on both days, for charging purposes this two half day course will be charged at one full day rate. 


The fee per teaching day is £35 per day for students / £75 per day for staff working for academic institutions, Research Councils and other recognised research institutions, registered charity organisations and the public sector / £250 per day for all other participants. In the event of cancellation by the delegate a full refund of the course fee is available up to two weeks prior to the course. NO refunds are available after this date. If it is no longer possible to run a course due to circumstances beyond its control, NCRM reserves the right to cancel the course at its sole discretion at any time prior to the event. In this event every effort will be made to reschedule the course. If this is not possible or the new date is inconvenient a full refund of the course fee will be given. NCRM shall not be liable for any costs, losses or expenses that may be incurred as a result of its cancellation of a course, including but not limited to any travel or accommodation costs. The University of Southampton’s Online Store T&Cs also continue to apply.

Website and registration:




Explanatory Research and Causal analysis, Experimental Research , Quasi-Experimental Research, Evaluation Research, Behavioural Research, Hypothesis testing research, Regression Methods, Quantitative Approaches (other), Research Ethics, Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

Related publications and presentations:

Explanatory Research and Causal analysis
Experimental Research
Quasi-Experimental Research
Evaluation Research
Behavioural Research
Hypothesis testing research
Regression Methods
Quantitative Approaches (other)
Research Ethics
Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

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