A consumer’s guide to research on substance use disorders (part 9)

In previous posts, I explained the challenges of making sense of research and introduced 8 questions that will help readers evaluate evidence and relevance to their work, goals, and lives. Today is question #6.

8) What questions does the study not answer?

No study can answer every question, nor should any study seek to every question. However, it can be helpful to stop and ask, what questions does the study not answer?  

There are two ways to group these questions.

First, there are questions that simply cannot be answered by the study. Considering what was asked, and not asked, provides context for the study.

Second, and maybe more important, is what questions does the study appear to have data for, but chose not to answer? For example, if a study looks at the impact of a treatment on drug use, as measured by urine drug screens, does it report on the number of subjects who were continuously abstinent?

Previous posts in this series: