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Research methods in Psychology What is meant by a double-blind, randomized controlled trial Explain why such trials are - Essay Example

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Despite the fact that double-blind studies are a popular subject, only a few recognize their true importance. It’s easy enough to understand their importance only it is more difficult to accept their consequences. This is mainly because they go against relying on one’s direct personal experience…
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Research methods in Psychology essay What is meant by a double-blind, randomized controlled trial Explain why such trials are
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Research methods in Psychology What is meant by a double-blind, randomized controlled trial Explain why such trials are

This is mainly due to the presence of confounding variables. So a double blind study serves not just to be a proof of efficacy but also a solid indication as to whether a treatment really works or not. What is a Double-Blind Study? It is in the nature of a randomized double-blind trial which is also placebo controlled that is medical in nature to have subjects that are given false treatment, also known as a placebo, and the researchers as well as the subjects are unable to distinguish between the two right up till the point when the study is concluded. This is why the study is referred to as ‘blind’. Also the way the subjects are given the treatment or the placebo is through random selection and hence the term ‘randomized’. Why Double-Blind Studies? There are several reasons why for a number of treatments the most effective question that can address the research question is that of a randomized double-blind, placebo controlled study. These studies which mainly aim to address the central question: “Does a certain Treatment X benefit Condition Y?” In order to fully understand the significance and the role that a randomized double blind study plays is by looking at the numerous problems that can rise when we attempt to address this question in any other way. Firstly the major significance of randomized double blind studies is reflected in the fact that medical investigations are an area of study in which the application of direct common sense observation does not confirm the accumulation of accurate results. It was only through the use of double-blind studies that researchers came to the realization that their own sense of sight was unreliable; the simple reason being a number of confounding factors. The Confounding Factors The influences which have an impact on the research and can make it seem like treatments that are ineffective are actually effective. These confounding elements are the sole reason for which medical treatments done over centuries is deemed of no value. Some of the key confounding factors are: Placebo effect The placebo effect is the procedure by which the influence of suggestion is what results in an improvement in symptoms. There are certain kinds of research that respond positively to a placebo treatment. Some examples of conditions that are responsive to a placebo treatment are menopausal hot flashes and certain kinds of pain. Although statistics show that only 30 percent of people are responsive to placebos but it can be as high as 70 percent for some treatments (McLennan, 2001) The results of placebo effects are astounding to those who experience it. An example is that of arthroscopic surgery where surgeons would think it really worked for knee arthritis. Then a research came out that showed that a pretend surgery would end up with the same level of satisfaction and long term advantages as the real one (Moseley et al., 2002). Generally individuals do not react happily when told that the positive effects were a result of a placebo. However the positive results of a placebo treatment are in a lot of cases undeniable. For example, in a double-blind, placebo controlled study done on the carpal tunnel syndrome of about thirty subjects showed that the use of a static magnet had a lot of advantages and it was found the same results were achieved with the use of fake magnets. Also in a randomized double-blind trial with about 67 subjects who were suffering from hip pain produced noteworthy improvements only by ... Read More
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