Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Making sense of results from randomised controlled trials

Natasha Lannin, Beverley Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Reading and interpreting results from research can be challenging. Many therapists read the abstract and discussion but confess to bypassing the results section of journal articles. Methods: This paper discusses necessary steps to reading the results section of a published randomised controlled trial. Recent clinical trials are used as examples. Results: An ability to read and interpret the results section of a paper requires the therapist to consider whether the tests conducted are appropriate, the results reported are accurate and the conclusions drawn by the authors are appropriate. Estimates of treatment effect sizes can be calculated by the therapist and used to determine if the effect of treatment is likely to be large enough to be "clinically worthwhile". Conclusions: The ability to extract meaningful statistical information from clinical trials is a fundamental skill that will enhance therapists' knowledge and understanding of evidence-based practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Statistics

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