Introduction to Randomised Controlled Trials

Course dates

10 - 14 June 2019

Course duration

5 days (approximately 30 hours teaching).
Registration will start at 9am on the first day, the course will finish by 4pm on the final day.

Course tutors

Dr Athene Lane, Professor Chris Metcalfe (course organisers) and others.

Course aims 

The aim of this course is to provide an understanding of the essentials of designing, conducting and analysing randomised controlled trials (RCTs). The course examines RCTs evaluating health and public health interventions in primary, secondary and community settings with individual and cluster randomised designs.

Course objectives

  1. to understand why and when randomised trials are optimally conducted;
  2. to address the key questions in designing a trial, including sample size;
  3. to be aware of the regulatory and governance frameworks to aid trial design and initiation;
  4. to understand how to assess patient experiences and incorporate patient and public involvement effectively in trials;
  5. to use strategies to enhance trial recruitment, adherence and retention;
  6. to understand the analytic approaches for trial data, including health economic analyses; and
  7. to gain insight into the experience of being a Chief Investigator and working with registered Clinical Trials Units 

Who the course is intended for

This course is designed for health care researchers, trial managers and coordinators, clinicians, public health researchers and specialists looking to understand RCTs.  

Course outline

The introductory course covers the following topics:

  • Need for randomised trials
  • Design of trials
  • Randomisation
  • Sample size
  • Feasibility and pilot studies
  • Trial planning, resourcing and working with the NHS
  • Trial initiation
  • Process evaluation for patient experience
  • Patient and Public Involvement
  • Optimising trial recruitment
  • Trial conduct
  • Protocol adherence and missing data
  • Cluster and public health trials, including in schools
  • Outcome assessment and Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Health economics
  • Primary and secondary trial analyses
  • Experience of being a Chief Investigator
  • Clinical Trials Unit support for trialists


Bookings for this course have now closed.

Very knowledgeable and experienced speakers.

Course feedback, July 2018

Excellent course, delivered in an excellent unassuming manner where anybody could ask anything.

Course feedback, July 2017

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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