“Whatever the professional standards may be, very often officials adopt certain institutions and tools because it is the thing to do, not because there is firm evidence to show a certain effect on a particular objective.”

From an ODI paper on the 2013 CAPE Conference: Budgeting for the real world

While, in context, this quote is aimed at bureaucrats and government officials, I think we can all recognise such problems in other organisations. While the burden of evidence can still stick in the craw of many (see the recent dressing down of the usually excellent blog Africa Is A Country by Laura Seay over a poor critique of a Washington Post piece on Jay Ulfelder‘s work on predicting coups) this short sentence highlights the dangers of getting by without it.

Yes, it can be misused. Yes, it can distract from the realities of a situation. But to ignore it altogether is undoubtedly much worse.

A Quick Reminder Of Why Evidence Matters


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