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Randomised Controlled Trials in Nursing and Midwifery: An Interview with Maralyn Foureur
Pamela J. Wood, RGON, PhD, Senior Lecturer Graduate School of Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria University of Wellington Lynne S. Giddings, RGON, RM, PhD, Associate Professor School of Nursing and Midwifery, Auckland University of Technology
Wood, P. J., & Giddings, L. S. (2002). Randomised controlled trials in nursing and midwifery: An interview with Maralyn Foureur. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 18(1),4 -16
Randomised controlled trials are considered to be one of the best research designs for determining effective care in the clinical setting. Relatively few randomised controlled trials, however, have been carried out in nursing or midwifery practice, so few examples of the practical realities of this research methodology are readily accessible. This is the sixth article in a series based on interviews with nursing and midwifery researchers, designed to offer the beginning researcher a first-hand account of the experience of using particular methodologies. This article focuses on the randomised controlled trial as experienced by Maralyn Foureur (RGON, RM, BA, Grad Dip Clin Epidem, PhD) who used this methodology to demonstrate the effectiveness of a continuity of care model in midwifery practice.
Key Words: Research methodologies, randomised controlled trials, systematic review, midwifery, continuity of care.
Randomised controlled trials
Randomised controlled trials are a familiar form of enquiry in medical and pharmaceutical research. The number of nursing and midwifery randomised controlled trials, however, is relatively small. This may be due to lack of funding, experience, confidence or the opportunity to undertake the generally large scale and often lengthy project required. While nurses and midwives might understand the principles inherent in the randomised controlled trial, because so few trials have been carried out within their disciplines they do not often have the chance to learn at first hand some of the practical realities of undertaking this form of research. This article, the sixth in a series based on interviews with nursing and midwifery researchers, offers the beginning researcher a brief introduction to the practicalities of this research approach (refer to Giddings and Wood (2000) for background information on the series). It provides a first-hand account of how one midwife, Maralyn Foureur, used a randomised controlled trial to provide evidence of effective midwifery care.