You are viewing the site in preview mode

Skip to content


  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

Making research and evaluation more relevant and useful in the real world: favoured solutions and uncomfortable realities

  • 1
BMC Health Services Research201414 (Suppl 2) :O1

  • Published:


  • Public Health
  • Health Service
  • Real World
  • Policy Maker
  • Public Policy

There has been a recent upsurge of advocacy from trialists and policy ‘modernisers’ for far more use of RCTs as the basis for health and wider public policy. This is exemplified by the UK Cabinet Office’s report ‘Test, Learn, Adapt’ (2012). Mainstream policy makers are now being told that they should make policy by experimenting like scientists. Drawing on experience as an applied health services researcher and policy adviser in government, I will attempt to stimulate reflection on the following questions: how can we explain the timing of this phenomenon; how realistic and helpful is it; and where does it leave the contribution of evaluation in policy?

Authors’ Affiliations

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK


© Mays; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.