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Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) / Randomized Field Experiment

Refers to an experimental research design in which participants are randomly assigned to a treatment or a control group. Most social scientists consider random assignment to lead to the highest level of confidence that observed effects are the result of the program and not other variables.

To receive a “randomized controlled trial” tag on, a program must include in the evidence base at least 1 study that (1) allocates groups via a valid random assignment procedure; and (2) is rated highly for overall design quality by Study Reviewers and (3) has outcome evidence consistent with the overall program rating.