How to Be an Informed Consumer of Evidence Ratings: It’s in the Details
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How to Be an Informed Consumer of Evidence Ratings: It’s in the Details

  • Published Date:

    September 05 2019

  • Source:
    Prev Chronic Dis. 16
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-398.20 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:
    What are evidence-based strategies and how can public health practitioners find evidence without conducting extensive literature reviews? We developed an inventory of clearinghouses and other resources that disseminate research on evidence of effectiveness. We examined differences in evidence classification among 6 evidence clearinghouses that rate the effectiveness of community-level strategies to address determinants of health. Most evidence clearinghouses clearly defined their scope, but only a few clearinghouses explicitly defined the types of strategies they assess (eg, programs, policies, practices). The term "evidence-based" was widely used, but definitions and standards were inconsistent across organizations and disciplines. Evidence clearinghouses varied in the way they used evidence rating classifications and criteria for assigning ratings. Attention to detail is important. The criteria for the top rating of some evidence clearinghouses, for example, require a more thorough literature review with more robust results than the criteria for the top rating of others. In addition, some clearinghouses report only on strategies considered to be evidence-based, whereas others also report on strategies that have no effect, mixed evidence, or no qualifying studies, demonstrating that a listing of a strategy by an evidence clearinghouse does not necessarily mean that it is effective. We conclude by providing guidance for users of evidence clearinghouses about how to interpret and effectively apply rating criteria across platforms: look closely at the details of how clearinghouses assign their ratings and be aware of similarities and differences when you are aligning potential strategies with your local priorities. We encourage communities to balance evidence with local needs, resources, and culture in strategy selection and funding decisions.
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