Research Methods

icon for methods 6 Clinical Trial Research

A "Clinical Trial" is a study that follows selected individuals forward in time from a pre-set baseline, typically in conventional phases, with some participants receiving an intervention and some not (or receiving different interventions). Typically, such studies measure the effects of medical interventions, including therapeutic agents, devices, regimens, and procedures. An important dimension of clinical trials is Case Management (tracking and recording the actions of participants). This usually involves the opening of a case by Case Number, taking some prescribed action and recording results, closing the case and reopening it later at scheduled times. Each opening signals a new session.

Clinical Trials are most commonly used in medical, pharmaceutical, and public health research. A major component of the design of clinical trials is usually the provision of mechanisms and procedures for maximizing and assessing "compliance," as in taking a medication daily in the prescribed amount at the prescribed times. An example of a clinical trial in vision science is a test of the efficacy of sustained-release, intraocular implants that deliver ganciclovir in the treatment of cytomegalovirus retinitis in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Typically, the study would involve one or more control groups that receive another intervention or a placebo.


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