ECON­ 3316, Section 001 Cost ­Benefit Analysis (2015)

| October 3, 2018

Structured Class
Discussion 2
Instruction:
Read the Nielsen and Fiore (2000) article in preparation for
an open class discussion on June 10. Use the questions below to guide your
preparation. Additionally reading the House (2008) article is advised but not
necessary.

·
General
observations:
o
What
type of research design is used in the Smoking Cessation trials?
o
How
many control and treatment groups are there?
o
What
methods are employed? How is decision-tree analysis used?
o
What
part did the drug company play in the study?
o
Is
the study flawed?
·
Are
there validity issues in the study? What threats to the credibility of findings
do these pose?
·
Statistical
conclusions validity:
o
Is
the sample size appropriate?
o
What
sampling methods are used?
o
What
statistical tests are used?
o
How
is attrition treated? What assumptions are made about drop-outs?
·
Internal
validity:
o
How
did they select participants for the study?
o
Was
the assignment to treatment and control groups random?
o
Are
there socioeconomic, demographic or inherent differences between the control
and treatment groups?
o
Are
there plausible rival hypotheses?
·
Construct
validity:
o
How
is the study funded? Who is the sponsor? Can this impact the findings? How?
o
Was
there dosage manipulation?
o
Was there manipulation of timescales?
o
What
do you make of using the placebo as a comparator in this study?
o
Who
does the data collection and reporting?
o
What
do you think of using “point-prevalence” to measure the key outcome?
o
Are
there any Hawthorne Effects or John Henry Effects at play?
o
How
valuable was the use of a meta-analysis?
·
External
validity:
o
Can the results be generalized to other
settings?
o
Consider demographic make-up of the study group.

·
Other
considerations:
o
Does
authorship matter?
o
Is
there selective publishing? Are negative results being suppressed?
o
Does
the rigor of randomized controlled experiments combat researcher bias?
o
What
are the potential solutions/safeguards that should be taken for similar
evaluations?

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