Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Precisely Equal Group Size and Allocation Bias in Nursing Randomized Controlled Trials: A Scientiometric Study

Version 1 : Received: 13 July 2021 / Approved: 14 July 2021 / Online: 14 July 2021 (10:49:38 CEST)

How to cite: Gray, R.; Bressington, D.; Jones, M.; Thompson, D.R. Precisely Equal Group Size and Allocation Bias in Nursing Randomized Controlled Trials: A Scientiometric Study. Preprints 2021, 2021070316 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0316.v1). Gray, R.; Bressington, D.; Jones, M.; Thompson, D.R. Precisely Equal Group Size and Allocation Bias in Nursing Randomized Controlled Trials: A Scientiometric Study. Preprints 2021, 2021070316 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0316.v1).

Abstract

The manipulation of participant allocation in randomized controlled trials to achieve equal groups sizes may introduce allocation bias potentially leading to larger treatment effect estimates. This study aimed to estimate the proportion of nursing trials that have precisely equal group sizes and examine if there was an association with trial outcome. Data were extracted from a sample of 148 randomized controlled trials published in nursing science journals in 2017. One hundred trials (68%) had precisely equal group sizes. Respectively, a positive outcome was reported in 70% and 58% of trials with equal/unequal groups. Trials from Asia were more likely to have equal group sizes than those from the rest of the world. Most trials reported a sample size calculation (n=105, 71%). In a third of trials (n=36, 34%), the number of participants recruited precisely matched the requirement of the sample size calculation; this was significantly more common in studies with equal group sizes. The high number of nursing trials with equal groups may suggest nurses con-ducting clinical trials are manipulating participant allocation to ensure equal group size increasing the risk of bias.

Keywords

Randomized Controlled Trial; Equal Group Size; Nursing; Allocation Bias; Effect Size

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