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In epidemiological research, recall bias is a systematic error caused by differences in the accuracy or completeness of the recollections retrieved ("recalled") by study participants regarding events or experiences from the past. Sometimes also referred to as response bias, responder bias or reporting bias, this type of measurement bias can be a methodological issue in research that involves interviews or questionnaires (potentially leading to differential misclassification of various types of exposure). Recall bias can be a particular concern in retrospective studies that use a case-control design to investigate the etiology of a disease or psychiatric condition. For example, in studies of risk factors for breast cancer, women who have had the disease may search their memories more thoroughly than unaffected controls to try to recall exposure to factors that have been mentioned in the press, such as use of oral contraceptives. One method that is adopted in clinical trials to minimize recall bias is to include a "wash out period", i.e., a substantial time period that must elapse between the subject's first observation and their subsequent observation of the same event .
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