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Glossary of Terms

We know that many of the concepts used on this site can be difficult to understand. For that reason, we have provided you with a glossary to help you make sense of the terms used in Comparative Effectiveness Research. Every word that is defined in this glossary should appear highlighted throughout the Web site. When you come upon a highlighted term and would like to read the full definition, you can either click on the word to visit the glossary or roll your mouse over the word for a pop-up definition.

 

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Randomization

Definition: A method of assigning participants in clinical trials into two or more groups randomly (by chance). One group receives the treatment or drug being researched, and one group receives either no treatment, a placebo (inactive substance), or another drug. Participants are assigned to a group by various methods.

Example: For example, researchers wanted to use randomization in a new study. The researchers decided to flip a coin for each new study participant and assign the person to the first group if the coin is heads and to the second group if the coin is tails.

Researchers usually use other techniques than a coin flip. A method called a random numbers table is often used.

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