A formal statement about a defined task or function. Examples include clinical practice guidelines, guidelines for application of preventive screening procedures, and guidelines for ethical conduct of epidemiological practice and research. Contrast code of conduct, in which the rules are intended to be strictly adhered to and may include penalties for violation. In the terminology developed by the European Community, directives are stronger than recommendations, which are stronger than guidelines.

Source: Porta M. A Dictionary of Epidemiology. 5th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2008.

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