, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

An Elusive Evidence Base: The Construction and Governance of Randomized Controlled Trials

  • Ayo Wahlberg
  • Linsey McGoey

In 1987, just a year before his death, the British epidemiologist Archie Cochrane gave one of his last public interviews. Cochrane had led an illustrious career, helping to establish the fields of epidemiology and public health in Britain and internationally. It was, however, the publication of a slim monograph, Effectiveness and efficiency: Random reflections on health services (1972), that sealed his reputation. Here he called for an international register of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that would allow researchers the ability to assess the efficacy of health interventions. The call to arms had a strong influence on the next generation of clinical epidemiologists and clinicians, including the McMaster team that coined the term evidence-based medicine (EBM) in the early 1990s (Mykhalovskiy and Weir 2004: 1059). Twenty years later, it appears Cochrane's dream of establishing public databases of clinical trials has been largely realized, while his call for the development of...


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Copyright information

© London School of Economics and Political Science 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayo Wahlberg
    • 1
  • Linsey McGoey
    • 1
  1. 1.BIOS, LSELondonUK

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