Yet another OBSERVATION vs. EVALUATION issue

Thomas Beale thomas.beale at
Fri Aug 17 13:38:05 EDT 2012

Hi Stefan,

On 17/08/2012 15:05, Stefan Sauermann wrote:
> This is deeply philosophic, but if you want it you get it:
> ;)
> The fact that a smoker within a given population develops cancer is an 
> observation.
> The fact that n smokers within a given population develop cancer is an 
> observation.
> So: some elements used for risk evaluation are observations.
> I would agree that "Risk" as a whole is an evaluation.

agree with all that - in general all assessments are based on some 
evidence base (the facts) and some knowledge base (maybe expressed as a 
diagnostic protocol).

> Decisions of medical users do not depend on the fact that an item is 
> classified as "observation" or "evaluation".

maybe not so much on how it is classified, but on whether it can be 
trusted or not. Erroneous conclusions can be drawn from evidence by 
mis-diagnosis, and diagnoses often have to be revisited in difficult 
cases. Observations might sometimes be declared faulty, but it is much 
less often the case, and the kinds of errors are generally less 
problematic than errors of diagnosis.

> Users need to know how the content they see on the screen was generated.
> Systems need to be able to tell the story of every item of information 
> they show on screens. A single "label" on an element within an 
> archetype does not provide this story. There need to be additional 
> measures. I guess it makes sense to focus on these.

well there is of course much more structure, labels, terminology 
connections to tell us the meaning of everything.

- thomas

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