Study design elements for rigorous quasi-experimental comparative effectiveness research

Matthew L. MacIejewski, Lesley H. Curtis, Bryan Dowd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Quasi-experiments are likely to be the workhorse study design used to generate evidence about the comparative effectiveness of alternative treatments, because of their feasibility, timeliness, affordability and external validity compared with randomized trials. In this review, we outline potential sources of discordance in results between quasi-experiments and experiments, review study design choices that can improve the internal validity of quasi-experiments, and outline innovative data linkage strategies that may be particularly useful in quasi-experimental comparative effectiveness research. There is an urgent need to resolve the debate about the evidentiary value of quasi-experiments since equal consideration of rigorous quasi-experiments will broaden the base of evidence that can be brought to bear in clinical decision-making and governmental policy-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Effectiveness Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • comparative effectiveness research
  • control group
  • external validity
  • health services research
  • internal validity
  • nonequivalent outcomes
  • outcomes research
  • quasi-experiment
  • study design
  • treatment effect


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