Briefing note template

A summary of (2009). Briefing Note: Decisions, Rationale and Key Findings Summary. Available from:

How to cite this NCCMT summary:

National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (2012). Briefing note template. Hamilton, ON: McMaster University. (Updated 12 September, 2017) Retrieved from

Categories: Tool

These summaries are written by the NCCMT to condense and to provide an overview of the resources listed in the Registry of Methods and Tools and to give suggestions for their use in a public health context. For more information on individual methods and tools included in the review, please consult the authors/developers of the original resources.

Relevance for Public Health

This tool helps to identify and document evidence sources to inform decision making on an issue. The template succinctly summarizes what is known about an issue and what actions are recommended and feasible for the user's public health organization.


This template, Briefing Note: Decisions, Rationale and Key Findings Summary, was developed by Health Evidence. It outlines key pieces of information for writing a briefing note, a description of an issue that draws on research and practice-based evidence to provide options and recommendations to address the issue. This fillable form organizes relevant information to support evidence-informed decision making.

A briefing note informs decision-makers about an issue by succinctly describing the issue and background information and describing key considerations, options to address the issue and recommended actions. Similar to briefing notes, policy briefs aim to influence policy decisions.

Two organizations have developed guides to help with developing briefing notes and policy briefs:

The Translation Bureau (Government of Canada) also provides practical tips and strategies to write briefing notes.

This template, along with other checklists and flowcharts, are available at Health Evidence: Tools to support evidence-informed decision making.

Implementing the Method/Tool
Steps for Using Method/Tool

The template includes the following sections:

  • issue
  • background
  • current status
  • description of relevant evidence (research, organizational, colloquial, political, community, pragmatic evidence)
  • options
  • conclusion/recommended actions
Who is involved

Anyone who writes briefing notes to support decision making, such as health promotion officers or project specialists, among others, would find this tool useful.

Conditions for Use
Not specified
Evaluation and Measurement Characteristics
Information not available
Not applicable
Not applicable
Methodological Rating
Not applicable
Method/Tool Development

Health Evidence

Method of Development


Release Date
Contact Person/Source

Health Evidence
175 Longwood Road S, Suite 210A
Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1


Title of Primary Resource
Briefing note: Decisions, Rationale and Key Findings Summary.
File Attachment
Reference (2009). Briefing Note: Decisions, Rationale and Key Findings Summary. Available from:
Type of Material
On-line Access
Cost to Access
Conditions for Use
Requirements for adapting this tool include: Health Evidence is acknowledged for tool development; adapted tool cannot be used for profit (not to be sold).

Title of Supplementary Resource
The Research Matters KT Toolkit: A Resource for Researchers
File Attachment
Bennett, G., & Jessani, N. (Eds.). (2011). The Knowledge Translation Toolkit - Bridging the Know-Do Gap: A resource for researchers. Ottawa, ON: International Development Research Centre.
Type of Material
Online handbook
On-line Access
Cost to Access
English, French
Conditions for Use
Copyright © 2011 International Development Research Centre

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