The Evidence that Evidence-based Medicine Omits

Clarke, Brendan and Gillies, Donald and Illari, Phyllis and Russo, Frederica and Williamson, Jon (2013) The Evidence that Evidence-based Medicine Omits. Preventative Medicine, 57 (6). pp. 745-747. ISSN 0091-7435. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.10.020) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.10.020

Abstract

According to current hierarchies of evidence for EBM, evidence of correlation (e.g., from RCTs) is always more important than evidence of mechanisms when evaluating and establishing causal claims. We argue that evidence of mechanisms needs to be treated alongside evidence of correlation. This is for three reasons. First, correlation is always a fallible indicator of causation, subject in particular to the problem of confounding; evidence of mechanisms can in some cases be more important than evidence of correlation when assessing a causal claim. Second, evidence of mechanisms is often required in order to obtain evidence of correlation (for example, in order to set up and evaluate RCTs). Third, evidence of mechanisms is often required in order to generalise and apply causal claims. While the EBM movement has been enormously successful in making explicit and critically examining one aspect of our evidential practice, i.e., evidence of correlation, we wish to extend this line of work to make explicit and critically examine a second aspect of our evidential practices: evidence of mechanisms.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Philosophy
Depositing User: Jon Williamson
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2013 09:46 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2015 14:06 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/36619 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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