How much science is there in injury prevention and control?
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OBJECTIVES: To determine what proportion of research papers at an injury prevention conference reported an evaluation. METHODS: A random sample of 250 abstracts from the 6th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control were classified by methodological type. Those that described any evaluation were further subdivided by whether the evaluation was of process or if it used an intermediate or "true" outcome. RESULTS: Of 250 abstracts, 20 (8%; 95% confidence interval 5.0% to 12.1%) showed evaluations with intermediate or true outcomes. Research designs were weak. Among the 20 reports, none was a randomized trial and only two conducted a before and after study with control group. The remaining 17 used before-after or "after only" designs. CONCLUSION: The conference papers included few evaluations. To ensure that resources are best used, those in the injury prevention field must increase their use of rigorous evaluation.
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