- In assessments of the validity of studies of healthcare interventions, selection bias refers to systematic differences between comparison groups in prognosis or responsiveness to treatment. Random allocation with adequate concealment of allocation protects against selection bias. Other means of selecting who receives the intervention of interest, particularly leaving it up to the providers and recipients of care, are more prone to bias because decisions about care can be related to prognosis and responsiveness to treatment.
- Selection bias is sometimes used to describe a systematic error in reviews due to how studies are selected for inclusion. Publication bias is an example of this type of selection bias.
- Selection bias, confusingly, is also sometimes used to describe a systematic difference in characteristics between those who are selected for study and those who are not. This affects the generalisability (external validity) of a study but not its (internal) validity.