Understanding Evidence: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tool

Puddy, R. W. & Wilkins, N. (2011). Understanding evidence part 1: Best available research evidence. A guide to the continuum of evidence of effectiveness. Retrieved from Center for Disease Control and Prevention website: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/UnderstandingEvidence.html

Canadian Example available


This tool helps practitioners, policy-makers and researchers understand research evidence. The tool exists within the CDC Understanding Evidence tool, a guidance document that clarifies and defines standards of rigour across six dimensions that make up the best available research evidence for evidence-informed decision making.

The continuum can be used:

  • to learn about the best available research evidence
  • as part of a process for making decisions about which strategies to implement
  • to identify which aspects of an initiative’s research evidence could be improved

Steps for Using Method/Tool

The tool guides users through two aspects of the best available research evidence:

  1. Strength of evidence
  2. Effectiveness of the program or policy

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.

We have provided the resources and links as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by McMaster University of any of the products, services or opinions of the external organizations, nor have the external organizations endorsed their resources and links as provided by McMaster University. McMaster University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites.

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