Key concepts for making informed choices

Aronson, J.K., Barends, E., Boruch, R., Brennan, M., Chalmers, I., Chislett, J., Cunliffe-Jones, P., Dahlgren, A., Gaarder, M., Haines, A., Heneghan, C., Matthews, R., Maynard, B., Oxman, A.D., Oxman, M., Pullin, A., Randall, N.P., Roddam, H., Schoonees, A., Sharples, J., Stewart, R., Stott, J., Tallis, R., Thomas, N. and Vale, L. (2019) Key concepts for making informed choices. Nature, 572 (7769). pp. 303-306.

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Everyone makes claims about what works. Politicians claim that stop-and-search policing will reduce violent crime; friends might assert that vaccines cause autism; advertisers declare that natural food is healthy. A group of scientists describes giving all schoolchildren deworming pills in some areas as one of the most potent anti-poverty interventions of our time. Another group counters that it does not improve children’s health or performance at school. Unfortunately, people often fail to think critically about the trustworthiness of claims, including policymakers who weigh up those made by scientists. Schools do not do enough to prepare young people to think critically. So many people struggle to assess evidence. As a consequence, they might make poor choices. To address this deficit, we present here a set of principles for assessing the trustworthiness of claims about what works, and for making informed choices (see ‘Key Concepts for Informed Choices’). We hope that scientists and professionals in all fields will evaluate, use and comment on it. The resources were adapted, drawing on the expertise of two dozen researchers, from a framework developed for health care2 (see ‘Randomized trial’). Ideally, these concepts should be embedded in education for citizens of all ages. This should be done using learning resources and teaching strategies that have been evaluated and shown to be effective.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Education, policy, society
Divisions: Crop and Environment Sciences (to 31.07.20)
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 09:52
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2020 05:10

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