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

This training course in partnership with the National Centre for Research Methods
  • Event time:
    6th September 2023 09:30 GMT Standard Time – 7th September 2023 12:30 GMT Standard Time
  • Format:

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

IMPORTANT: Please note that this course includes computer workshops. Before registering please check that you will be able to access the software noted below. Please bear in mind minimum system requirements to run software and administration restrictions imposed by your institution or employer with may block the installation of software.

The course will include practical activities using PowerUp! which is freely available and runs as a Microsoft Excel macro.

It is assumed that participants have a firm grasp of the foundation of quantitative methods used in social science, such as linear regression and confidence intervals.

It will also facilitate the course if participants have a specific idea for an RCT they would ideally like to run.


Online across two consecutive mornings (Equal to one full day)

Weds 6 Sept 2023 : 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Thurs 7 Sept 2023 : 9:30 am to 12:30 pm


The fee per teaching day is £30 per day for students / £60 per day for staff working for academic institutions, Research Councils and other recognised research institutions, registered charity organisations and the public sector / £100 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:


  • Andi Fugard
    Deputy Director of the Centre for Evaluation
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    Dr Andi Fugard is Deputy Director of NatCen’s Centre for Evaluation. They have over a decade of experience designing and delivering a wide variety of evaluations, including pilots, embedding outcomes monitoring in routine practice, cluster randomised controlled trials, and quasi-experimental evaluations, primarily in mental health and education. They have also conducted research on the psychology of reasoning under uncertainty, and methodology research, including developing a novel quantitative approach for choosing a sample size for qualitative studies. They are passionate about using social science and causal inference to improve people’s lives. Andi is a member of the UK government Evaluation and Trial Advice Panel, which advises civil servants and What Works Centres.