Thursday, November 15th, 2012

miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Fanigrling: Rumpole)
There appears to be something of a backlash against this concept going on at the moment, and everyone I see lashing back against it seems to be lashing at so many straw men they're in a blizzard of dried grasses.

Evidence-based policy does not mean you can't do ANYTHING without randomised control trials on every single facet of every policy. It DOES mean that we should pay attention to what we are doing currently and note what it's effects are and see if those effects push towards or move away from our aims. I don't see what the problem is with paying attention to whether what you are doing or proposing achieves it's aims?

The word "evidence" does not preclude consideration of anything other than randomised control trials. Empirical evidence from one person is still evidence. Hearsay evidence is still evidence, albeit not very persuasive. A randomised control trial might be more persuasive, but if you haven't got one of those there are still other forms of evidence you can consider. Evidence is not an on/off switch, but a complex sliding scale of persuasiveness.

The rejection of evidence-based policy strikes me, with my legal training, as completely wrong-headed. Because if you reject evidence-based policy, what you are doing is asking for policy that has no evidence for it. Policy that has no evidence for it at best is policy that nobody knows whether it will work, and far more likely is policy that there is evidence that it doesn't work, simply on the basis that most policies have been tried by now, so we have some evidence on whether or not they work.

Why in the name of Paddy's pants would anyone find that preferable to policy which we have some evidence that it works?

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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