UNICEF webinar: Randomized controlled trials

What are the key features of an RCT? Are RCTs really the gold standard? What ethical and practical issues do I need to consider before deciding to do an RCT?

The fifth webinar in this series is presented by international evaluation expert and former Executive Director of 3ie, Dr Howard White.

Dr White provides an introduction to RCTs and cover different types of RCT design, the necessary conditions for successfully evaluating programmes using an RCT, ethical and practical considerations, and examples of good and bad practices.


How cost effective is the RCT design, particularly for developing countries?

After conducting a baseline outcome analysis - can we design an RCT for monitoring and impact analysis?

How can we justify assessment of impact that appears over a longer period of time especially when chances of losing participants to follow up is high?

Could you please talk a little about some of the "rules of thumb" for ensuring adequate power in RCTs?

The random allocation of the treatment can lead to intervention sites being geographically scattered, generating additional costs for programme implementation, and potential reduction in outcomes when success depends on diffusion or competition/emulation between intervention sites.” How can we address these issues in RCTs?


The findings, interpretations and opinions expressed in the webinars are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The presenters are independent impact evaluation experts who were commissioned by UNICEF to prepare the webinars and use their own knowledge and judgement on key issues and to provide advice. The questions and comments reflected in the Q & A materials are based on those submitted by UNICEF staff as part of this capacity-building initiative. They do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of UNICEF.

The webinars were commissioned by UNICEF and UNICEF is entitled to all intellectual property and other proprietary rights which bear a direct relation to the contract under which this work was produced. The materials on this page are subject to a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial) and may be used and reproduced in line with the conditions of this licence.


White, H. (2015, June). Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). Impact evaluation webinars for UNICEF [Webinar]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRarkBOJv6Q

Related pages

Project page

Methodological brief

'UNICEF webinar: Randomized controlled trials' is referenced in: