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Diagnostic evaluation with simulated probabilities

Befani, Barbara; Elsenbroich, Corinna; Badham, Jen

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Barbara Befani

Corinna Elsenbroich


As policy makers require more rigorous assessments for the strength of evidence in Theory-Based evaluations, Bayesian logic is attracting increasing interest; however, the estimation of probabilities that this logic (almost) inevitably requires presents challenges. Probabilities can be estimated on the basis of empirical frequencies, but such data are often unavailable for most mechanisms that are objects of evaluation. Subjective probability elicitation techniques are well established in other fields and potentially applicable, but they present potential challenges and might not always be feasible. We introduce the community to a third way: simulated probabilities. We provide proof of concept that simulation can be used to estimate probabilities in diagnostic evaluation and illustrate our case with an application to health policy.


Befani, B., Elsenbroich, C., & Badham, J. (2021). Diagnostic evaluation with simulated probabilities. Evaluation, 27(1), 102-115.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jan 14, 2021
Publication Date Jan 1, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 29, 2021
Journal Evaluation
Print ISSN 1356-3890
Electronic ISSN 1461-7153
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 1
Pages 102-115


Published Journal Article (607 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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