Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Comparative effectiveness research: the missing link in conservation

Published source details

Smith R.K., Dicks L.V., Mitchell R. & Sutherland W.J. (2014) Comparative effectiveness research: the missing link in conservation . Conservation Evidence, 11, 2-6

Summary

This editorial highlights the deficit of studies that directly compare different conservation interventions for the same threat. Most studies test a single intervention (86% in Conservation Evidence), comparing it against a control that lacks the intervention. Such studies can provide evidence that a particular intervention is effective, but do not inform a practitioner whether that intervention is the best option relative to others. Comparing results from different studies is difficult, as outcomes depend on factors such as the site, species and method of measurement.  We suggest that a key step to understanding the effectiveness of conservation interventions is to compare different interventions in the same context within studies. If widely adopted this could transform global conservation practice. We provide some guidance on how to design and conduct comparative studies.