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Threats to the validity of observational studies on the effects of interventions raise questions about the appropriate role of such studies in decision making. Nonetheless, scholarly journals in fields such as medicine, education, and the social sciences feature many such studies, often with limited exploration of these threats, and the lay press is rife with news stories based on these studies. Consumers of these studies rely on the expertise of the study authors to conduct appropriatedoi:10.1146/annurev-statistics-022513-115645 fatcat:4dk2bgj4s5bwvch6tgjxlkuhzu