Probing for Proof, Plausibility, Principle and Possibility: A New Approach to Assessing Evidence in a Systematic Evidence Review

23 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Anouk Rigterink

Anouk Rigterink

University of Oxford

Mareike Schomerus

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

This article proposes a new approach to assessing evidence during a systematic evidence review aiming to inform international development policy. Drawing lessons from a number of social science systematic evidence reviews, the article identifies how the method's limiting perspective on evidence (including the exclusive focus on ‘gold standard’ empirical information) has serious disadvantages for the usability of evidence reviews for policy. This article aims to provide an alternative framework that allows for a less exclusionary, yet policy‐practical, way of assessing evidence. We propose four perspectives on evidence, appropriate for different stages in the policy process: principle when setting or prioritising broad policy goals, plausibility when assessing specific future policies, proof when evaluating past policies and possibility when striving for innovation and allowing exchange of ideas.

Keywords: policy, systematic evidence review, proof, plausibility, principle, possibility

Suggested Citation

Rigterink, Anouk and Schomerus, Mareike, Probing for Proof, Plausibility, Principle and Possibility: A New Approach to Assessing Evidence in a Systematic Evidence Review (January 2016). Development Policy Review, Vol. 34, Issue 1, pp. 5-27, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2703086 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12145

Anouk Rigterink (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.anoukrigterink.com/

Mareike Schomerus

Overseas Development Institute (ODI) ( email )

111 Westminister Bridge Rd.
London, SE17JD
United Kingdom

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