5th Global Symposium on HSR: Invitation to a discussion on the WEIRD (Ways of Evaluating Important and Relevant Data) tool

4 October, 2018

Dear colleagues

Critical appraisal is key to assessing whether evidence is reliable and trustworthy. A wide range of tools is available for critical appraisal of different kinds of primary and secondary research. However, there are few tools available for critical appraisal of programme descriptions, descriptions of the implementation of interventions or programmes (for example, in programme evaluation reports) and other largely descriptive types of information. The WEIRD (Ways of Evaluating Important and Relevant Data) tool aims to address this gap.

The WEIRD tool comprises a set of questions that can be applied to the types of source materials mentioned above, allowing users to assess the limitations of these sources. We believe that the tool will facilitate the more effective use in decision making processes of sources such as descriptions of ‘real world’ health, welfare or other programmes, descriptions of programme implementations and descriptions of policy processes and system reforms. WEIRD can also be helpful alongside guidance on reporting programmes, such as the recently published Programme Reporting Standards for SRMNCAH (http://prs.srhr.org/).

WEIRD is in development and we would like to invite you to an informal discussion on the tool on Tuesday 9 October from 16h30 – 17h30 UK time in Room 8 of the Global Symposium conference venue. Your feedback will be useful in taking this work further, and you will also discover why this is called the WEIRD tool!

Please let me know if you are able to attend and I will then share the draft tool with you. Please feel free to share this invitation with colleagues who may be interested in this work, and apologies for the very short notice!

With kind regards


On behalf of the WEIRD tool development team

Disclosure of funding sources: The development of the WEIRD tool is supported by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research; the UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), World Health Organization; and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health

HIFA profile: Simon Lewin is a health systems researcher at the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (www.nokc.no) and the Medical Research Council of South Africa (www.mrc.ac.za). His work is mainly in the field of implementation research, including systematic reviews of health systems interventions; the development and evaluation of strategies for changing professional and user behaviours and the organization of care; and the use of lay or community health workers to deliver care. He is an editor for the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group and the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Review Group. He is a member of the HIFA working group on CHWs:



Email: simon.lewin AT nokc.no