Falsificationism and clinical trials

Stat Med. 1991 Nov;10(11):1679-92. doi: 10.1002/sim.4780101106.


The relevance of the philosophy of Sir Karl Popper to the planning, conduct and analysis of clinical trials is examined. It is shown that blinding and randomization can only be regarded as valuable for the purpose of refuting universal hypotheses. The purpose of inclusion criteria is also examined. It is concluded that a misplaced belief in induction is responsible for many false notions regarding clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic* / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Physiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design / statistics & numerical data