Crash modification factors (CMFs) are listed in the Highway Safety Manual and other authoritative publications. This information does not allow the reader to distinguish between the predictions of safety effect that can be made confidently and are likely to lead to correct decisions and those that can easily be wrong. Nor can it be known how transferable past research results are to decisions about future actions to be implemented under different circumstances. The conceptual framework described in this paper aims to provide guidance for research about CMFs and for meta-analyses. The central claim is that CMFs are random variables and are not universal constants that apply everywhere at all times. The smaller the standard deviation of a CMF, the more confident the related decision making can be. Therefore, the aim of research into CMFs is to reduce their standard deviations. Ways to do so efficiently are indicated. The requisite theory and equations are provided.