Photo prise à Menton par Niels A.
Photo prise à Menton par Niels A.
MPs value the views of constituents and expert opinion more highly than evidence from randomised controlled trials, a new survey has found. However, the majority of the 104 Labour and Conservative MPs from the previous parliament who were questioned support the idea of using randomised controlled trials to evaluate policies and don’t believe they are too expensive.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI and the charitable trust Sense about Science, also found that MPs were more inclined to act on their own principles than on the results of randomised controlled trials, which involve testing new interventions on a randomly selected group of people and comparing that with a control group of people who get the usual intervention.
Interestingly, the survey found that the views of experts and the opinions of constituents trumped those of practitioners, such as teachers or doctors. It also found that MPs give very little weight to the views of journalists.
There are signs that a lot of MPs harbour some erroneous misgivings about randomised controlled trials, suggesting a widespread lack of understanding of how the trials work and how they might be used to test the effectiveness of policies.
Many thought it unfair that some people would be randomly assigned to not receive the policy being investigated – 35% believed this, including 26% of the 74 MPs who supported the use of the trials. But this is a fundamental principle, and a strength, of this kind of trial.
The MPs quizzed were roughly as supportive of pilot schemes without a comparison group as they were for randomised controlled trials by 67% to 64%, misunderstanding the value that the addition of a randomly selected control group can bring.
Pilot studies also contain an aspect of “unfairness”, for people in areas where the scheme is not piloted. But pilot studies do not have the added benefit of collecting data in those areas to provide a comparison, generating stronger evidence as to whether a policy is effective.
Each word in the name RCT is important. Randomisation of the trial’s subjects mean that, in a health trial for example, there’s less chance of the sickest people being all in one group and warping the findings. Controlled studies compare the new treatment to a baseline group where the usual treatment is given to check whether there’s a real difference between the two. And they are a trial, rather than just implementing a new treatment without testing it first.
The survey also highlighted the difference between where politicians think they should look for evidence when making policy decisions, and what evidence they have actually used to justify the decisions they’ve made in the past. Randomised controlled trials were rated as less important than uncontrolled pilot trials in both instances.
Evidence from experts was voted top of what politicians felt they should consider, but this was beaten by “the views of constituents” when they were asked what they have used to justify a policy in the past. In both instances, the MPs' own principles were rated much higher than evidence from RCTs.
Political decisions will rarely be based on evidence alone. And it should absolutely be the case that politicians want to listen to their constituents and act accordingly. But where the impact of a potential policy change is not known, testing this out before it is widely implemented can save money long-term, and make sure only policies likely to be effective are implemented.
Although the background of the MPs surveyed is not reported, an interest in and understanding of science is somewhat lacking in the corridors of power. In 2010, the Campaign for Science and Engineering compiled a list of MPs with an interest or background in science, and it equated to roughly 10% of MPs in parliament at that time. The implication here is that the other 90% have little or no interest in science whatsoever, let alone a scientific background or understanding of its methods.
In medicine it seems obvious to test treatments before rolling them out, and there is a move to apply such techniques to policy too, aided by RCTs. In 2013, the then secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, enlisted the help of epidemiologist Ben Goldacre to help bring a strong evidence base to educational policy.
The Behavioural Insights Team work with the government to design and test policies or interventions, and along with Goldacre and David Torgerson have authored a policy paper called Test, Learn, Adapt, instructing how to run trials for policy.
The Behavioural Insights Team have already used randomised controlled trials to investigate the effectiveness of a number of policy changes or interventions. One such trial showed that a small change to a government website led to increases in organ donation sign-up.
A government-backed charity called the Educational Endowment Foundation have used randomised trials to show that teaching assistants can improve numeracy and literacy when used effectively, which had been doubted after evidence from earlier largely non-randomised research. Goldacre has himself said that if anyone wants to help bring RCTs to policymaking, he will “stand on the barricades” with them.
The results of this new survey suggest MPs would be receptive to this. Rather than smirking at politicians' failure to grasp the complexities of scientific trials, researchers need to explain their importance, design and limitations. Randomised controlled trials have changed medicine for the better, and if done properly can do the same for the way policies are developed.
MPs don’t need a scientific background to value evidence-based policy, but if they need help understanding how to get the strongest evidence, we should provide it.
Suzi Gage does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
Ce clip mettant en scène des faux David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband et Nigel Farage en boysband enjoint les électeurs à "changer de disque".
Causeur, aussi bon en analyse politique qu'en maths.
Un Français sur quatre ? Le 1er parti de France ? Le site Arrêt sur Images propose de comparer, depuis 1984, les scores du FN à toutes les élections françaises, en proportion du nombre total d'électeurs inscrits. Un tableau édifiant montrant à la fois une certaine stabilité et une progression bien réelle, mais très nuancée. Et en tous cas sans commune mesure avec le FNocentrisme pathologique actuel :
Européennes 1984 : 5.99%
Législatives 86 : 7.19 %
Présidentielles 88 : 11.47 %
Lég. 88 : 6.21%
Eur. 89 : 5.56 %
Lég. 93 : 8.08 %
Eur. 94 : 5.25 %
Prés. 95 : 11.4 %
Lég. 97 : 9.65 %
Régionales 98 : 8.26 %
Eur. 99 : 2.5 %
Prés. 2002 1er tour : 11.66 %
Prés. 2002 2d tour : 13.41 %
Lég. 2002 : 6.98 %
Eur. 2004 : 4.05 %
Rég. 2004 : 8.51 %
Prés. 2007 : 8.62 %
Lég. 2007 : 2.54 %
Eur. 2009 : 2.47 %
Rég. 2010 : 5.09 %
Prés. 2012 : 13.95 %
Lég. 2012 : 6.65 %
Eur. 2014 : 10.5 %
Départementales 2015 : 10.19 %
NB : A pondérer toutefois en valeur relative (le résultat d'un élection dépend du nombre de suffrages exprimés) et absolue (le corps électoral a augmenté).
Avec 4 100 000 voix exprimées aux départementales, le FN réprésente 6% de la population française totale, soit en gros 1 français sur 15 à la louche, en étant sympa. Bon, c'est clair que du coup, c'est super moins punchy comme titre.
En 1986, alors que le FN avait 35 députés, on imagine quels auraient été les titres de Causeur et les punchlines de Bourdin.
++ Relire nos "Vrais chiffres de la vague bleue Marine", à propos de ce parti qui, 40 ans seulement après sa création, contrôle déjà 0,04 % des municipalités et plus de zéro départements.
[edit 12h10 : notre service statistique, infesté de taupes fascistes, avait d'abord mal calculé "1 Français sur 10" pour les départementales, mais c'est bien 1 Français sur 15. Encore mieux. Merci lecteurs]
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
Love the likes of X-COM, Oregon Trail and roadtrips across a ruined American landscape? Then join us Wednesday, April 1st, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents the local debut of Overland, the forthcoming tactical survival game from Austin’s own Finji.
Just back from a critically acclaimed first showing at San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference, Finji will be giving Austin an early opportunity to play the game, in which “players scavenge fuel and other supplies as they head directly into the heart of a cataclysm” which has produced “a hardly-recognizable America.”
As part of the event, members of the development team — which include Austin locals Adam Saltsman, Shay Pierce & Jocelyn Reyes, in addition to LA’s Heather Penn — will give a short presentation on both the influences & design goals of the game, in advance of its desktop/tablet release later this year.
Overland will be playable Wednesday, April 1st, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public, so come join us as we drink, play and meet the people changing the way we think about games!
The post Hey Austin: Come Play Overland, Finji’s Tactical Survival Roadtrip Game appeared first on VENUS PATROL.
Pretty good point about contextualisation.
Why shouldn’t we say things about race that are true, asked Trevor Phillips in a Channel 4 documentary broadcast last night. And who could possibly disagree? Facts are facts, after all, and suppressing them just suppresses debate.
Certainly, the former race chief’s stance has cemented influential friendships. The Daily Mail lauded him on Monday with a front page headline: “At last! A man who dares to tell truth about race”. Its columnist Richard Littlejohn called him “the bravest man in the universe”. On a BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in this week, callers sang his praises. He’s right, they said: British people have become paralysed by a fear of being called racist.
When we hear about white criminality, we already have enough other information to be able to contextualise itContinue reading...
Ou l'inverse. En tous cas Abu Wahib Kebab "fait le buzz" sur les Internets. Cadeau bonus:
J'ai essayé le destop en poudre par les yeux sur une aire d'autoroute.
J'ai perdu mon job.
J'ai participé à une réunion tupperware sous crack.
J'ai essayé le crack par l'anus sur une piste de ski.
Je l'ai sévèrement regretté.
Toi aussi génère ton article de Vice ici.
(Merci à Rox pour la suggestion)
The decision of a committee of the Oklahoma legislature, by a vote of 11-4, to stop funding for Advanced Placement History classes is national news. Whether this committee vote will actually lead the legislature to stop funding advanced placement history classes is yet to be determined.
As a professionally trained historian who has taught at the University of Oklahoma for more than twenty years, I hope that the legislature and the governor do not ultimately take this step.
Those who favor this withdrawal of public funding claim that the AP standards emphasize the “bad” or “negative” aspects of American history, at the expense of the idea that the United States is “exceptional” because it has grown up without the class conflicts and religious strife that divided many parts of Europe for centuries.
I support the AP history standards because, first of all, I have actually read them. A fair reading of the standards released in the Fall of 2014 is the most effective refutation of the indictment that there is a political agenda at work.
To be frank, however, I fear that these opponents of AP history will not be moved by any evidence that a history professor like me would offer them.
What causes us to disagree so strongly is a deep difference over what history actually is and how its mastery should be measured.
Is history the story of how a self-evidently great people came to be “great”? Some people clearly believe this, and they are not all “political extremists.” Any visit to any book store or library will yield a shelf full of books to feed this appetite.
Over the last fifty years, social conflict in our society over who belongs here (are you a “real American”?), and whose creativity, labor and struggle have “built this country” (and at what social cost), have exposed an uncomfortable fact of life: we do not agree about how to answer these fundamental questions.
Many of us who were born here or who have chosen to become American citizens have direct experience with being excluded, discriminated against and called “un-American.” The history of the economic and social development of the country is full of examples of often violent struggle over wages, hours, conditions of work, just as in other countries.
The way history is presented today in class rooms across this country, and as it is reflected in the latest AP standards, accepts that these disagreements are, in their very essence, what “history” actually is.
Even after any reasonably free and open society resolves some fundamental questions (the decision to end slavery and legally enforced segregation) for itself, opponents of these decisions do not just become magically convinced by an “idea whose time has finally come.”
The process of disagreement and negotiation continues with we hope, less violence and more mutual understanding than before. In this sense, history never reaches its “destination” or its “end.”
History is a living process that we cannot — and dare not– live without. The AP history standards focus on processes that are initiated by humans as they live together and which continue shape their lives over generations, not on facts about great moments and their visionary authors.
Such moments and such people surely do exist, but theirs is not the whole story. If some “great names” are absent from the AP history standards, it is not because they have been written out of history, but because the AP history standards are a framework within which and through which one makes sense of details.
If all you have is a pile of flash card facts — key dates in American history — you really don’t know anything. What you need to know is who assembled these facts and why? You should ask to see the sources and examine the sources of selection.
When you go to the AP history standards you will find a list of all the professors who took part in devising these standards. They come from all kinds of educational institutions — from community colleges to Ivy league schools.
The historians who wrote the history standards understand history as a process, not a “thing” to be memorized. And, once you have assembled the strongest available evidence, you will, as the scientific method requires, come to the same result: human beings are complex and contradictory.
Beyond that, the lesson of history is also like that of the sciences: we must reckon with the diversity of life and form, which has always been humanity’s toughest challenge — and it always will be.
Getting rid of AP history ignores the rigors of this reality rather than meeting its real and enduring obligations upon all of us.
Ben Keppel has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Archive Center and the Research Council at his home institution, the University of Oklahoma..
(Merci à Benoit pour la suggestion)