BETA’s guide to running randomised controlled trials

20 September 2016Anna Doherty


Tagsbehavioural insights, beta, trial

The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) has released a guide to developing and testing behavioural interventions using randomised controlled trials (RCTs).


The guide outlines BETA’s approach to projects, setting out the four stage framework they use, as well as nine guiding questions to ask throughout the first two stages – Discovery and Diagnosis. The approach outlines how to identify the desired outcome of your trial, and explore causal behaviour to target.

The guide offers examples of well-defined outcomes and helpful questions to ask when considering available data. Readers are challenged to consider whether the outcome can be measured, is realistic and feasible. Other questions prompt readers to consider the scalability of the proposed intervention and possible approaches to research. Pages 11 to 13 of the guide include a thorough table with sample questions to help explore and understand behaviour.

BETA’s Guide to developing interventions for randomised controlled trials (PDF, 806 KB) provides a useful and comprehensive resource to scoping out and setting up an RCT. The authors, Phil Ames and Professor Michael Hiscox, from Harvard’s Behavioural Insights Group, have pulled together expertise from around the world to create an easy-to-use guide for those looking to test behavioural interventions with RCTs in Government.