Index of Key Concepts

List of all Key Concepts for thinking critically about health interventions

Concepts about claims

Watch out for messages that are too good to be true.
Messages that ignore harms
Messages that exaggerate effects
Messages that are too sure
Messages that are too exact
Messages with no comparison

Watch out for mistaken beliefs about research.
Belief in theories
Belief that association means causation
Belief in big data
Belief in single studies
Belief that research isn’t relevant to real life

Watch out for misconceptions about health actions.
Belief that treatment is needed
Belief that more treatment is better
Belief that commonly-used means effective
Belief that new is better
Belief that early detection is better

Watch out for mistaken beliefs about sources.
Trust in personal experiences
Trust in beliefs
Trust in expert opinions
Trust in publication
Trust that there are no competing interests

Concepts about evidence

Look for fair comparisons.
Similar comparison groups
Similar care
Participants unaware of health action
Consistently-measured outcomes
Reliably measured outcomes
Little loss to follow up
Outcomes counted in the right group

Look for reliable summaries.
Systematic summaries
Unpublished results considered
Direct comparisons
Assumptions tested

Look for differences.
Words alone
Relative effects
Average effects
Not enough evidence

Look for the margin of error.
Small studies
Subgroup analyses
Statical significance

Concepts about choices

Consider how relevant the available research is.
Clear problem and options
Relevant outcomes
Relevant participants
Relevant health actions
Relevant circumstances

Consider whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Benefits and harms
Baseline risk
Importance of each benefit and harm
Certainty of the evidence
More evidence needed

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