Anouk Rigterink and Mareike Schomerus’ latest journal paper proposes a new approach to assessing evidence during a systematic evidence review aiming to inform international development policy. Drawing lessons from a number of social science systematic evidence reviews, the article identifies how the method’s limiting perspective on evidence (including the exclusive focus on ‘gold standard’ empirical information) has serious disadvantages for the usability of evidence reviews for policy. This article aims to provide an alternative framework that allows for a less exclusionary, yet policy-practical, way of assessing evidence. We propose four perspectives on evidence, appropriate for different stages in the policy process: principle when setting or prioritising broad policy goals, plausibility when assessing specific future policies, proof when evaluating past policies and possibility when striving for innovation and allowing exchange of ideas.