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Article
October 14, 1974

Lectures on the Methodology of Clinical Research

Author Affiliations

Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore

JAMA. 1974;230(2):284. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240020072035

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Abstract

The second edition of Hamilton's lectures serves as a useful review of traditional concepts of research architecture for the young clinician. It outlines an approach to clinical experimentation. It explains statistical principles relevant to the design and evaluation of clinical research.

The initial sections of the book discuss basic principles of experimental design. The book stresses the necessity of careful specification of the experimental hypothesis and describes the difficulties of designing the experiment to test the hypothesis. While the importance of developing criteria to define therapeutic endpoint is emphasized, the author does not fully discuss the problems of developing precise criteria for each phase of the clinical experiment, eg, diagnostic criteria. The book presents methods of appraising clinical trials to ensure that the conclusions that are drawn are warranted. It warns the reader, for instance, of the error of equating correlation and causation, but not of the error of equating

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