Making your research accessible

Preparing and using policy briefs to support evidence-informed policymaking

By 16 July 2010

Policy briefs are a relatively new approach to packaging research evidence for policymakers. The first step in a policy brief is to prioritise a policy issue. Once an issue is prioritised, the focus then turns to mobilising the full range of research evidence relevant to the various features of the issue. Drawing on available systematic reviews makes the process of mobilising evidence feasible in a way that would not otherwise be possible if individual relevant studies had to be identified and synthesised for every feature of the issue under consideration. In this article, a range of questions that can be used to guide those preparing and using policy briefs to support evidence-informed policymaking are developed.

These are:

1. Does the policy brief address a high-priority issue and describe the relevant context of the issue being addressed?

2. Does the policy brief describe the problem, costs and consequences of options to address the problem, and the key implementation considerations?

3. Does the policy brief employ systematic and transparent methods to identify, select, and assess synthesised research evidence?

4. Does the policy brief take quality, local applicability, and equity considerations into account when discussing the synthesised research evidence?

5. Does the policy brief employ a graded-entry format?

6. Was the policy brief reviewed for both scientific quality and system relevance?

Title: Preparing and using policy briefs to support evidence-informed policymaking Author: John N Lavis, Govin Permanand, Andrew D Oxman, Simon Lewin, Atle Fretheim Year: 2009