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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions: new Medical Research Council guidance
Authors: Craig, Peter
Cooper, Cyrus
Gunnell, David
Haw, Sally
Lawson, Kenny
Macintyre, Sally
Ogilvie, David
Petticrew, Mark
Reeves, Barney
Sutton, Matt
Thompson, Simon
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Issue Date: Dec-2012
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Citation: Craig P, Cooper C, Gunnell D, Haw S, Lawson K, Macintyre S, Ogilvie D, Petticrew M, Reeves B, Sutton M & Thompson S (2012) Using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions: new Medical Research Council guidance, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66 (12), pp. 1182-1186.
Abstract: Natural experimental studies are often recommended as a way of understanding the health impact of policies and other large scale interventions. Although they have certain advantages over planned experiments, and may be the only option when it is impossible to manipulate exposure to the intervention, natural experimental studies are more susceptible to bias. This paper introduces new guidance from the Medical Research Council to help researchers and users, funders and publishers of research evidence make the best use of natural experimental approaches to evaluating population health interventions. The guidance emphasises that natural experiments can provide convincing evidence of impact even when effects are small or take time to appear. However, a good understanding is needed of the process determining exposure to the intervention, and careful choice and combination of methods, testing of assumptions and transparent reporting is vital. More could be learnt from natural experiments in future as experience of promising but lesser used methods accumulates.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Scottish Government - Chief Scientist Office
University of Southampton
University of Bristol
HS Research - Stirling
University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
University of Bristol
University of Manchester
University of Cambridge

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