Randomised controlled trials: the straightjacket of mental health research

McPin Foundation
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This paper challenges the current domination of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews of RCTs in mental health research and evidence-based healthcare, suggesting that we need to populate the landscape with alternative sources of knowledge and evidence from a survivor researcher perspective. Of greatest concern is that the uncritical reification of the RCT marginalises the knowledge or evidence produced by mental health service users and survivors. The report contends that survivor research (user-controlled research) has a major contribution to make to the knowledge base about mental health and to the debate about what constitutes acceptable evidence in mental health care and argues that the existing research structures and the evidence hierarchy, in which RCTs are held to be the 'gold standard', are preventing this contribution from being realised. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
research methods, randomised controlled trials, user participation, participatory research, systematic reviews, mental health problems, mental health;
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Talking Point Papers
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