A State Official’s Guide to Science-Based Decision-Making

Posted & filed under Fluoride, Oral Health, and Access to Care.

The Knowledge Center of the Council of State Governments has created a useful tool for state officials, one that will no doubt help many local decision-makers, like those deciding how to vote on a fluoridation issue. A State Official’s Guide to Science-Based Decision-Making walks the reader through the scientific method, providing steps to help assess the source, methods, and results of scientific studies and testimony. In addition to concise definitions of eight types of studies, the guide provides WARNING SIGNS and “Questions to Ask” to help distinguish between, for example, correlation and causation. Using autism and vaccines as an example, a cautionary point is made about the detrimental impact of ‘bogus’ science. Of particular interest is a section explaining contested science and the circumstances under which it occurs.

Although public policy decisions are not based on data alone, this resource will assist those seeking to improve their ability to integrate sound scientific knowledge into their decisions.