We have prepared a list of Key Concepts that people need to apply to assess claims about the effects of a treatment (any action intended to improve health). The concepts serve as the basis for developing learning resources to help people understand and apply the concepts when claims about the effects of treatments (and other interventions) are made, and when they make health choices. The list includes three groups of concepts that can help people to:

1. Recognise when a claim about the effects of treatments has an untrustworthy basis
2. Recognise when evidence from comparisons of treatments is trustworthy and when it is not
3. Make well-informed choices about treatments

Developing the Key Concepts

We have published a description of how we prepared the initial list of 32 concepts. We are continuing to develop the list and have added twelve more concepts based on feedback and suggestions. Earlier versions, as well as the current version of the list can be found here:

We have written the concepts and explanations in plain language. However, some of these concepts may be unfamiliar and difficult to understand. We did not design the list as a teaching tool. It is a framework, or starting point, for teachers, journalists and other intermediaries for identifying and developing resources (such as longer explanations, examples, games and interactive applications) to help people to understand and apply the concepts.

The concepts in this list are universally relevant. However, our initial focus has been on concepts that are important and possible to teach or communicate to children and poorly educated adults living in low-income countries.

Key Concepts Blog Series
Students 4 Best Evidence believe these Key Concepts are vital to help them think critically about the treatment claims they’re exposed to daily and were keen to raise awareness of them. As such, a group of over 10 students has been busy preparing a series of 34 blogs, one to explain and elaborate upon each of the Key Concepts in the 2016 version.

Other teams are translating the blog series to Portuguese, German, Spanish, Croatian and Dutch. We will link to these translations when they are completed.

Other learning resources for the IHC Key Concepts can be found in the Critical thinking and Appraisal Resource Library (CARL).