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Article
Can understanding mechanisms solve the problem of extrapolating from study to target populations (the problem of 'external validity')?
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • Jeremy Howick, Oxford University
  • Paul Glasziou, Bond University
  • Jeffrey K. Aronson, University of Oxford
Date of this Version
1-1-2013
Document Type
Journal Article
Publication Details

Citation only

Howick, J., Glasziou, P., & Aronson, J.K. (2013). Can understanding mechanisms solve the problem of extrapolating from study to target populations (the problem of 'external validity')? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 106(3), 81-86.

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© Copyright, The Authors, 2013

;2013 HERDC Submission FoR code: 11171

NHMRC Project Grant GNT05275007

Abstract

We all hope that study results will benefit target populations. However, experience suggests that extrapolation based on simple induction can be problematic. Here we have argued that examining mechanisms of action in study and target populations can help justify successful extrapolation and also guide adequate descriptions of interventions. Our proposed method involves (i) establishing that common problems with obtaining knowledge of mechanisms of action have been overcome; (ii) verifying that relevant mechanisms in the study and target populations are similar; and (iii) establishing that study and target contexts are relevantly similar.

Citation Information
Jeremy Howick, Paul Glasziou and Jeffrey K. Aronson. "Can understanding mechanisms solve the problem of extrapolating from study to target populations (the problem of 'external validity')?" Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (2013) ISSN: 0141-0768
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/paul_glasziou/123/