2.3 Identifying study designs

Depending on the source that you are using, RCTs and CCTS can be identified in a number of ways. For example, if you are searching MEDLINE:

  • RCTs are assigned the Publication Type 'Randomised Controlled Trial';
  • CCTs are assigned the Publication Type 'Controlled Clinical Trial' (but check to ensure that the CCT label matches the Cochrane criteria for a CCT).

More information

For an excellent resource on how to identify RCTs and CCTs, register to do the Handsearching: Identifying and Classifying Controlled Trial Reports course run by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. You must register to access this course. Registration is free.

The US Cochrane Centre provides the Handsearcher Training Manual (PDF). This guide was produced in 2002, but the content is still current.