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A statistical perspective on the design of drug-court studies

Merrall, E.L.C. and Bird, S.M. (2009) A statistical perspective on the design of drug-court studies. Evaluation Review, 33 (3). pp. 257-280. ISSN 0193-841X

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Recent meta-analyses of drug-court studies recognized the poor methodological quality of the evaluations, with only a few being randomized. This article critiques the design of the randomized studies from a statistical perspective. Learning points are identified for future drug-court studies and are applicable to evaluations both of other specialist courts and of court-based interventions more generally. The specific issues covered are randomization, describing the intervention, and baseline characteristics; study outcomes, and sample size calculations; in-program and postprogram behavior, analysis plan, and presentation of results.