Selection of patients for randomized controlled trials: implications of wide or narrow eligibility criteria

Stat Med. 1990 Jan-Feb;9(1-2):73-83; discussion 83-6. doi: 10.1002/sim.4780090114.


This paper discusses the various philosophies that influence the selection of patients for entry into randomized controlled trials. Although a number of different and often competing issues have to be considered depending upon the trial, keeping entry criteria simple, wide and at times even flexible is usually preferable. Such a strategy can be a positive virtue by helping to attain the large numbers of patients that are usually needed to reliably detect the sorts of moderate benefits that are plausible, at a reasonable cost and by providing answers that are relevant to many different categories of patients with a particular condition.

MeSH terms

  • Bias*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Research Design
  • Selection Bias*