Using research evidence in balancing the pros and cons of policies

by Andrew D Oxman, John N Lavis, Atle Fretheim, Simon Lewin | Dec 16, 2009

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In this article, we address the use of evidence to inform judgements about the balance between the pros and cons of policy and programme options. We suggest five questions that can be considered when making these judgements. These are:

  1. What are the options that are being compared?
  2. What are the most important potential outcomes of the options being compared?
  3. What is the best estimate of the impact of the options being compared for each important outcome?
  4. How confident can policymakers and others be in the estimated impacts?
  5. Is a formal economic model likely to facilitate decision making?