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BLINDING

The act of making someone blind

The process used in epidemiological studies and clinical trials in which the participants,
investigators and/or assessors remain ignorant concerning the treatments which
participants are receiving. The aim is to minimise observer bias, in which the assessor,
the person making a measurement, have a prior interest or belief that one treatment is
better than another, and therefore scores one better than another just because of that.

The investigator, the participant and sometimes even the evaluator are all kept
unaware (blinded) of the outcomes of the trial and secrecy is maintained to
improve the validity.

Who can be blinded???


1. participants (e.g. patients or healthy people);
2. healthcare providers (e.g. the doctors or nurses responsible for care);
3. outcome assessors, including primary data collectors (e.g. interview staff responsible for
measurement or collection of outcome data) and any secondary assessors (e.g. external
outcome adjudication committees);
4. data analysts (e.g. statisticians)
PURPOSE OF BLINDING
1.

Blinding or Masking is done to eliminate

Hawthorne effect

2. Investigator bias
3. Evaluation bias
TYPES OF BLINDING

SINGLE BLINDING means the process wherein only the participant is unaware
about what he is receiving. Eg. Placebo

DOUBLE BLINDING means is where both the participant and the investigator are
unaware about of the intervention. This eliminates observer bias to a large extent.
Eg. Say you are testing a new kind of painkiller. you have 90 volunteers, 30 get the new
medicine, 30 the old, and 30 a placebo. double blind means that the volunteers do not
know what kind of pill they are receiving, nor do the people recording the patients'

reports of pain relief. This is so that the people recording the results do not influence the
volunteers responses or take biased notes. also, the volunteers don't imagine that they
have less pain just because they know they have the new medicine.

TRIPLE BLINDING is a trial where even the evaluator is also not aware of the
process.

**** In emergencies and life threatening situations for participants, unblinding can be
done.