Bias in Clinical Research

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Carlos Manterola & Tamara Otzen


One of the biggest dilemmas in clinical research is the occurrence of errors, which can occur by chance or systematic practice. Thus, we can consider that there is bias when in the course of an investigation a systematical error occurs and it is not listed as a random occurrence or by chance. Biases can occur for different causes, but it is generally accepted that the most common and perhaps the most important are those due to the observer, what is observed, and that with which it is observed. In other words, who measured, what is measured, and the instrument that is being used to measure. Another consideration to keep in mind refers to the concept that bias can occur at any stage of the course of an investigation, from the initial planning through the analysis and the results presentation and it subsequent publication. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to describe the concepts for understanding the importance of the biases, knowing the most common biases in clinical research and its association with different types of research designs as well as the strategies to prevent and control it.

KEY WORDS: Bias (Epidemiology); Case-Control Studies; Cohort Studies; Selection Bias; Epidemiology; Evidence-Based Medicine.

How to cite this article

MANTEROLA, C. & OTZEN, T. Bias in clinical research. Int. J. Morphol., 33(3):1156-1164, 2015.