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Communicating Quality of Evidence

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

Project - Communicating Quality of Evidence

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In virtually every area of life we have to rely on evidence and claims provided by others, whether we're making personal medical or financial decisions, or making professional decisions such as what to do about a suspected terrorist threat based on national intelligence or assessing the evidence that someone is guilty of a crime. The question then arises - how much weight should we put on that evidence or claim? How solid is it?

Evidence can be limited by things such as disagreement between experts, limited knowledge/sample size, biases in reporting, or the fact that the evidence gathered is rather tangential to the problem under consideration. How should this be communicated to a decision-maker?

We are currently reviewing methods of the communication of quality of evidence across many diverse fields, as well as any empirical work done to test how well these methods communicate their intended information. We are also planning empirical studies of our own with the aim of developing advice for those wishing to communicate quality of evidence.