Skip to main content
Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit

Introduction to Pragmatic Trials

This course is not currently available: further updates will be announced in due course.


Schwartz and Lellouch were the first to use the word “pragmatic” in relation to clinical trials in 1967. They defined a pragmatic trial as a trial designed to help chose between care options, as opposed to an explanatory trial  which is used to test causal research hypotheses, for example about biological processes. Thirty years later Roland and Torgerson made the distinction between these two approaches in a different way, explaining that explanatory trials evaluate efficacy, the effect of treatment in ideal conditions and pragmatic trials evaluate effectiveness, the effect of treatment in routine clinical practice.  It is now recognised that there is, in fact, a spectrum of trials with very explanatory trials at one end and very pragmatic trials at the other end.

This one day course will explain the principles and practice of pragmatic trial design, and describe the growing range  of design approaches.

Who this course is for 

Anyone involved or with an interest in the design, conduct, analysis or reporting of a pragmatic trials in the academic or NHS sector. The course will be of interest to all investigators, researchers, statisticians, trial managers, research nurses and PhD students.

Location: PCTU, Yvonne Carter Building, 58 Turner Street, E1 2AB

Availability: Limited places

Cost: TBC 

For further information and to register your interest please contact


Back to top