February 2012 - Inciter
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The Importance of Interpretation

The concept of evidence-based policy was examined in a recent article by Pawson and colleagues (2011).The authors discussed the current trend of "evidence-based everything" and the impact this approach can have on policy making.They examined the example of proposing a policy banning smoking in a car when there are children present and the difficulty in providing conclusive evidence to support the policy.Pawson and colleagues highlight the ongoing theme of their article in the following Donald Rumsfeld quote:"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don't know." Many times the "known knowns" in research are...

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