Checklist for Reviewing a Randomized Controlled Trial or a Social Program or Project, To Assess Whether it Produced Valid Evidence

Feb 1, 2010

This is a checklist of key items to look for in reading the results of a randomized controlled trial of a social program, project, or strategy ("intervention"), to assess whether it produced valid evidence on the intervention's effectiveness. This checklist closely tracks guidance from both the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Education Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES)1 ; however, the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of OMB or IES.


This checklist limits itself to key items, and does not try to address all contingencies that may affect the validity of a study's results. It is meant to aid – not substitute for – good judgment, which may be needed for example to gauge whether a deviation from one or more checklist items is serious enough to undermine the study's findings.


A brief appendix addresses how many well-conducted randomized controlled trials are needed to produce strong evidence that an intervention is effective.


The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy wound down its operations in the spring of 2015, and the Coalition's leadership and core elements of the group's work have been integrated into the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

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