Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered the gold standard of scientific evidence when determining the effectiveness of policy and practice interventions. In order to understand the basis for the importance and utility of RCTs to community-based psychosocial interventions, Chapter 1 outlines the following: 1) establishes a definition of RCTs within the context of real-world service delivery systems, 2) distinguishes RCTs from program evaluations and from quasi-experimental and pre-experimental designs, 3) discusses the significance of RCTs to evidence-based practice, and 4) provides an overview of the following chapters, which offer practical guidance in designing, planning, and conducting RCTs for social work practice, using case examples to illustrate the material presented. In addition, Chapter 1 defines the term “community-based psychosocial interventions” as reflecting the grounding of interventions in impacting the social context of the individual, as well as the inherent change within the individual.
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