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The aim of injury prevention research is to provide information that will lead to a sustained reduction in the burden of injury, whether measured in terms of mortality, morbidity, disability, or cost of injury. Because the resources available for injury research are limited, funding for injury prevention research must be rationed. A question therefore arises about the criteria that should be used to decide how the available research funding should be allocated to the different types of research activities. If we agree with the aim stated above, it would seem reasonable to prioritise research that provides the greatest marginal benefit, in terms of reduction in the burden of injury, for any given cost. In other words, priority setting should be driven by a comparison of incremental gains with incremental costs. Because resources for injury research are limited we should fund the most cost effective injury prevention research.
The outcome of research is the provision of information. But how can we predict what type of information will lead to the greatest reduction in the burden of injury? We can approach this question by considering how information from injury prevention research would lead to a reduction in the burden of injury. Injury research will only contribute to the reduction in the burden of injury if it informs the actions we take for injury prevention. The information we need is that which would steer us towards effective and cost effective action and away from action that is harmful, useless, or of low cost effectiveness. Research …