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Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria and Psychological Research

The practice of evidence-based medicine depends on the availability of double-blind, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which are widely viewed as the gold standard of clinical research. RCTs apply inclusion and exclusion criteria for participation in the study so that the participants have the attributes that will make it possible to answer the research question. Inclusion criteria are characteristics that the prospective subjects must meet to be included in the study, whereas exclusion criteria are those characteristics that disqualify prospective subjects from inclusion in the study. These eligibility criteria (i.e., inclusion and exclusion criteria) must be unambiguous, standardized, and ethically acceptable. They include factors such as age, sex, race, ethnicity, type and stage of disease, social characteristics (e.g., homelessness), the subject’s previous treatment history, and ...

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