Causation and evidence-based practice an ontological review

This paper – from Prof. Roger Kerry, Thor Eriksen, Prof. Svein Anders Noer Lie, Prof. Stephen Mumford, and Dr. Rani Anjum – has been published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

The abstract says:

“This paper explores the nature of causation within the framework of evidence-based
practice (EBP) for health care. The aims of the paper were first to define and evaluate how
causation is presently accounted for in EBP; second, to present an alternative causal
account by which health care can develop in both its clinical application and its scientific
research activity. The paper was premised on the idea that causation underlies medical and
health care practices and impacts on the way we understand health science research and
daily clinical practice. The question of what causation is should therefore be of utmost
relevance for all concerned with the science, philosophy and progress of EBP. We propose
that the way causation is thought of in contemporaneous health care is exposed by evidential frameworks, which categorize research methods on their epistemological strengths.

It is then suggested that the current account of causation is limited in respect of both the
functionality of EBP, and its inherent scientific processes. An alternative ontology of
causation is provided, which has its roots in dispositionalism. Here, causes are not seen as
regular events necessitating an effect, but rather phenomena that are highly complex,
context-sensitive and that tend towards an effect. We see this as a better account of
causation for evidence-based health care.”

You can find out more from here.

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