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A False Dichotomy: RCTs and Their Contributions to Evidence-Based Public Health

Laurel E Hatt, Minki Chatterji, Leslie Miles, Alison B Comfort, Benjamin W Bellows,Francis O Okello


March 9, 2015
This is a response to James D. Shelton's article on evidence-based public health. While randomized controlled trials (RCTs) can and do make valuable contributions, they also have severe limitations, including in answering the basic question of “Does it work?” and, even more so, in steering how to proceed with complex public health programming at scale. They deserve no exalted position in the pantheon of methodologies for evidence-based public health.