Variations in the Content and Style of NIH Consensus Statements, 1979-1983

by James P. Kahan, David E. Kanouse, John D. Winkler


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This Note describes a content analysis of the statements of 24 Consensus Development Conferences conducted by the Office for Medical Applications of Research of the National Institutes of Health in the years 1979-1983. The goal was to understand the potential and actual impact of the consensus statements by identifying characteristics that might determine how and whether physicians become aware of their findings and adopt their recommendations. Three characteristics emerged, each suggestive of a different style of consensus statement: discursiveness, didacticism, and scholarliness. Variations in style among consensus statements may affect their acceptance by the medical profession.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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