What are Clinical Trials?
Use this guide to help locate published or unpublished clinical trials in health sciences. For exhaustive searching there is always the possibility of including other databases or searching in other languages and countries of origin.
The resources in this guide may be relevant to both randomized (RCT's) and non-randomized trials, community trials, and various phases of trials.
Definition of a clinical trial
- 'A research activity that involves the administration of a test regimen to humans to evaluate its eficacy and safety.' (Last JM, International Epidemiological Association. A dictionary of epidemiology. i31366284 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001)
- See also Bandolier Glossary
Published Trials Through the UQ Library
Subscription Database Access
You can search for published trials using bibliographic literature databases. The following databases, which may have references to clinical trials, are available via the UQ Library's Databases page.
Contact Your Liaison Librarian for expert assistance in searching the databases.
- Cochrane Collaboration (Organization)
Includes Cochrane Central Registrar of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)
CENTRAL is the Cochrane Collaboration's register of controlled trials. The register provides bibliographic information (i.e. abstracts rather than full-text) on over 415,000 reports of trials identified by contributors to the Cochrane Collaboration. CENTRAL provides individual reviewers with easy and reliable access to the maximum possible number of trials relevant to their review topic. Trials are identified from multiple sources, including searches of bibliographic databases, handsearches of many hundreds of journals and conference proceedings, and searches of other trial registers. Since the overriding aim is to create an unbiased source of data for systematic reviews, all known controlled trials are included in CENTRAL irrespective of language of publication or where and when the studies were conducted.
- Ovid Medline
Combine search with the following terms: Randomized controlled trial.pt or clinical trial.pt. Then combine this last set with your search topic set using and.
- PLoS Clinical Trials
PLoS Clinical Trials (eISSN 1555-5887) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Launched in March 2006.
From the PubMed Services menu: Choose Clinical Queries. Then select therapy and narrow, specific search.
- Biosis Previews
May contain pre-clinical or laboratory trials
- Web of Science
- PEDro, the physiotherapy evidence database
UQ Library Catalogue
To learn more about clinical trials you can search the UQ Library catalogue using the Subject Heading 'Clinical Trials'.
Trial Registries - Protocols
These registries list protocols of clinical trials. They can be searched to identify trials at various stages from registration of protocol to completion, and which might not necessarily ever be published or indexed in databases.
A Service of the US National Institutes of Health. Developed by the National Library of Medicine.
- International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) Register
- WHO Clinical Trial Search Portal
- metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT)
Multiple Trial search
- Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry
National on-line registry of all types of clinical trials being undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. Funded by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and New Zealand Health Research Council
- EU (European) Clinical Trials Register
Interventional clinical trials that are conducted in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA)
- Trials Register of Promoting Health Interventions (TRoPHI)
Coverage of trials of interventions in health promotion and public health worldwide
Sponsored Trial Data Publications
US Food and Drug Administration posts selected review documents for new drug approvals on its Web site.
Pharmaceutical company web sites
- GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Trial Register
- GSK Register
Letter: More on compulsory registration of clinical trials
The US pharmaceutical industry (PhRMA) repository for controlled clinical trial results
- Centerwatch Clinical Trials Listing Service
Thomson's listing of NIH government funded trials protocols
Provides links to a large number of US organisations conducting trials, including drug companies and research bodies
Unpublished Trial Data Publications
- Contact Drug companies & research organisations.
- Search web for 'grey literature'. The search term 'grey literature' will lead to sites that collect and make available links to this unpublished material, for example institutional reports, research papers etc.
The UQ Library can provide help:
- Derwent Innovations Index, (the world's most comprehensive database of patents information) is available via UQ Library's Database page
- The UQ Library has produced a "How-to" guide for finding Patents
Policy Statements and Guidelines for Registration of Trials
- Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR)
National on-line registry of all types of clinical trials being undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. Funded by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
- Ottowa Statement on trial registration
- Committee of Medical Journal Editors
Statement on trials registration
- WHO ICTRP
WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform statement - "The registration of all interventional trials is a scientific, ethical and moral responsibility."
- CONSORT Statement
An important research tool that takes an evidence-based approach to improve the quality of reports of randomized trials. The CONSORT statement: revised recommendations for improving the quality of reports of parallel-group randomised trials.
- Bmj editorial
Abbasi K. Compulsory registration of clinical trials. BMJ 2004;329: 637-8. (18 September.)Full Text
- European Pharmaceutical Industries
Joint Position on the Disclosure of Clinical Trial Information via Clinical Trial Registries and Databases
- PhRMA Principles on Conduct of Clinical Trials and Communication of Clinical Trial Results
Checklists for Reporting of Clinical Trials
Validity of Clinical Trials
A number of checklists are available to assist with assessment of validity of clinical trials.
- Evidence-based medicine:how to practice and teach it by Sharon E. Straus et al.
Publisher New York, N.Y. Churchill Livingstone, 2011. 4th ed