Randomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences - Tenth Annual Conference

9, 10 and 11 September 2015

We are pleased to announce the tenth annual RCTs in the Social Sciences conference. The conference will be an opportunity for delegates to share expertise, interests, and concerns about conducting trials in all fields of social sciences.

The conference will be held on 9, 10 and 11 September, in the ARRC Building at the University of York and is jointly organised by Professor David Torgerson (University of York, York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences), Professor Catherine Hewitt (University of York, York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences), Professor Carole Torgerson (Durham University, School of Education) and Dr Ben Styles (National Foundation for Education Research - guest organiser).

The conference will include keynote and invited presentations from national and international speakers and contributed presentations on all aspects of randomised trials in the social sciences.

Keynote speakers are:

  • Professor Thomas Cook, Professor of Sociology, Psychology, Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Chicago
  • Professor Don Green, Professor of Political Science at Columbia University
  • Professor Larry Hedges, the Board of Trustees' Professor of Statistics, Psychology and Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Chicago.

The conference will be followed by a workshop run by Hannah AinsworthDavid Torgerson and Ben Styles. David will look at different trial designs and the implementation of these within a social science setting. He will cover cluster randomisation, stepped wedge, split plot, randomisation combined with regression discontinuity. Hannah will look at the challenges of recruiting participants (schools and students) into educational trials and describe what recruitment strategies do and what don't work. Ben will also be discussing sample size requirements and calculations for randomised trials.


The following presentations were given at the 2015 Randomised Controlled Trials Conference and are available to download.

Wednesday 9 September

  • Keynote Speaker: Thomas Cook - Justifying Randomized Experiments: A New, Oblique and Contingent Justification.  Please contact Thomas Cook (t-cook@northwestern.edu) or further information about this presentation 
  • Mike Robling, Eleri Owen-Jones, Julia Sanders, Rebecca Cannings-John, Gwenllian Moody - Approaches to Participant Recruitment and Predictors of Retention in a Large Community Based Public Health Trial: Findings from the Building Blocks Trial  Please contact Mike Robling (roblingmr@cardiff.ac.uk) for further information about this presentation
  • Elizabeth Spier and Hans Bos (MS PowerPoint , 777kb) - FAST in Philadelphia: Keeping an RCT Relevant when Program Participation is Low Please contact Elizabeth Spier 
  • Maiken Pontoppidan  - Short Term Results of the Incredible Years Parents and Babies Program – A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Universal Parenting Intervention in Denmark  Please contadt Maiken Pontoppidan (mpo@sfi.dk) for further information about this presentation
  • Gianluca Argentin (PDF , 252kb) - Opening the Black Box of Teacher Quality. The Design of a Randomized Controlled Trial Aimed at Explaining and Improving Teacher Effectiveness
  • Georgina Warner (PDF , 2,604kb), Natasha Mokhtar, Michael Little - An Innovative Approach to Real-World RCT Recruitment and Data Collection: A Screening, Referral and Data Collection App for Social Workers
  • Jack Worth (MS PowerPoint , 280kb), Juliet Sizmur, Rob Ager, Ben Styles - Impact of Two Teacher Training Programmes on Pupils’ Development of Literacy and Numeracy Ability: A Three-Arm Cluster-Randomised Trial in English Primary Schools
  • Keynote Speaker:  Larry Hedges - Understanding Heterogeneity of Treatment Effects Please contact Larry Hedges (l-hedges@northwestern.edu) for further information about this presentation

Thursday 10 September

  • Keynote Speaker: Don Green (MS PowerPoint , 246kb) - Pre-Analysis Plans: Pros and Cons of Limiting Discretion in the Analysis of RCTs
  • Aine Aventin (MS PowerPoint , 3,423kb), L Maguire, M Clarke, M Lahan - Recruiting Schools, Adolescents and Parents to a Sexual-Health Trial: Experiences, Challenges and Lessons Learned from the Jack Trial 
  • Gian Paola Barbetta  - Employing Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) People.  Please contact Gian Paola Barbetta (gianpaola.barbetta@unicatt.it) for further information about this presentation
  • Mark Langdon and Simon Clay (MS PowerPoint , 657kb) - Exploring the Change of Frequency in the Jobseekers Signing Regime; Do Weekly Work Search Review Meetings Leads to Improved Outcomes?
  • Peter John (MS PowerPoint , 3,939kb)  - Remaking Heaven in Small-Scale Democracy: A Randomised Experiment to Encourage Contested Elections and Greater Representativeness in English Local Councils
  • Moira Nicolson (PDF , 1,226kb), Gesche Huebner, David Shipworth - Can Behavioural Economics be Used to Encourage Consumers to Switch to Green Energy Tariffs? A Randomized Controlled Trial on a Representative Sample of British Energy Bill Payers
  • Victoria Menzies (PDF , 541kb), Carole Torgerson, Catherine Hewitt, Andy Wiggins, Kirsty Younger - Piloting a Prospective Regression Discontinuity Design with Tie Breaker Randomisation in the Evaluation of a Saturday School Programme for Pupils Starting Secondary School
  • Hannah Buckley (MS PowerPoint , 4,880kb), Hannah Ainsworth, Clare Heaps, Catherine Hewitt, Laura Jefferson, Natasha Mitchell, Carole Torgerson, David Torgerson - Indirect and Mixed Treatment Comparisons
  • Elizabeth Tipton (PDF , 292kb), David Yeager, Chris Hulleman, Ronaldo Iachan, Barbara Schneider, Kate Flint, Alice Roberts - Mind Your G’s and T’s: Designing an Experiment for Generalization and Developing a Theory of Treatment Effect Heterogeneity

More information can be found in the 2015 conference flyer (PDF , 2,019kb).

Click here to book a place online.