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Book Review: Fighting for Reliable Evidence, by Judith Gueron and Howard Rolston.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (2015)
  • REBECCA A MAYNARD, University of Pennsylvania

Fighting for Reliable Evidence is an incredibly powerful book, full of information that graduate schools don’t teach and that would take a lifetime to learn on the job. Readers shadow the narrators—Judith Gueron, one of the founding employees and now President Emeritus of MDRC, and Howard Rolston, a long-time senior civil servant in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—as they share their intersecting professional journeys in service of improving the welfare of our nation and its people. Over a 40 year period that began in 1974, a small band of warriors from the philanthropic, policy, and research communities, including the Gueron and Rolston, fought and won many battles in a war to improve the availability and use of reliable evidence about what does and does not work to address the needs of poor and vulnerable populations. By shadowing the authors, readers learn the distinction between reliable and unreliable evidence and between evidence that is and is not useful for improving the development, implementation and management of public policies. Readers also will gain an appreciation of the challenges to and rewards from strategic investments in generating such evidence.

  • welfare policy,
  • methods,
  • experimental evaluations
Publication Date
Winter 2015
Publisher Statement
This is a pre peer review version of the article: The citation for the published version of this review is: Maynard, R. A., Book Review of Fighting for Reliable Evidence by Judith Gueron and Howard Rolston, New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 2013, 596 pp., Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2015, 34, 1, 243-247. DOI: 10.1002/pam.21801. Accessed 12-30-14 at: For a courtesy copy of published version of the paper, please e-mail me at:
Citation Information
REBECCA A MAYNARD. "Book Review: Fighting for Reliable Evidence, by Judith Gueron and Howard Rolston." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management Vol. 34 Iss. 1 (2015)
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