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The bubble-bursting, causality-revealing awesomeness of randomized controlled trials

A drawing shows a hand, labeled RCT, pulling threads with labels like income, environment, resources, education and quality of life.

In the 1990s, a small group of researchers funded by NSF developed a scientifically rigorous way to design complex social experiments that can clearly distinguish those all-important causes from mere correlations and coincidences.

Credit: National Science Foundation/Alice Kitterman

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