The perils of “evidence-based”

Ben Goldacre has some interesting thoughts about what gets in the way of medicine being truly “evidence based”. Much the same would apply outside medicine. There are so many places in the system for failure to interfere.

I also wanted to go off a slight tangent prompted by this from Ben:

I often glaze over a bit when people break processes down into completely obvious components like this (it feels like they might be angling for some dismal management role)…

He suggests the current example is an exception but his general precept sratches an itch for me. I see a lot of management documents and they often break tasks and projects down into numbered or bulleted lists. These are often written in quite jargon-laden language and provoke a visceral dislike in me. I associate them in some way with a kind of power grab.

And it reminds me of the stuff I blogged some time back about the work of John Clippinger. He talks about language as grooming and points out the pitfalls of what he calls “high register” (roughly, very precise and technical) language which often thwarts collaboration.

The people writing these things may have the best of intentions but I think they often create stress, resistance and resentment that may not be measured but it is very costly.

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