Evidence briefings from systematic reviews

A Summary of

Chambers, D. & Wilson, P. (2012) A framework for production of systematic review based briefings to support evidence-informed decision-making. Systematic Reviews, 1 (32). doi: 10.1186/2046-4053-1-32


Evidence briefings use a short, accessible format that highlights key findings and implications to inform decision-makers and policy-makers on a topic of interest. This resource provides a framework and checklist to develop evidence briefings from systematic reviews. Developed by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, this process has been used to develop evidence briefings for National Health Service (NHS) decision-makers.

Evidence briefings provide more than a traditional summary of available evidence on intervention effectiveness. They also include considerations of cost effectiveness, local adaptability and implications relating to service delivery, budgets, implementation and equity. In this way, evidence briefings require individuals to synthesize the evidence and adapt the summarized evidence to the local setting (learn more about the Synthesize and Adapt steps of Evidence-Informed Public Health (EIPH)). This framework and checklist can be used with a briefing note template developed by Health Evidence™ to create evidence briefings.

Evidence briefings represent one approach to conducting rapid reviews to summarize research evidence in a timely manner to inform decision-making (Ganann, Ciliska & Thomas, 2010). The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Khangura et al., 2012) uses a similar approach to creating evidence summaries in collaboration with decision-makers. The approach used by Chambers and Wilson (2012) includes summarizing economic evaluations for considering cost-effectiveness evidence.

This resource includes:

  • A framework outlining an approach to developing evidence briefings from systematic review evidence
  • An Evidence Briefing Checklist to clarify the research question
  • An Evidence Briefing Evaluation Questionnaire to assess the effectiveness of the briefing note

The evidence briefing format includes:

  • Front page with summary of main messages
  • Background section
  • Methods section
  • Evidence base for effectiveness
  • Evidence base for cost-effectiveness
  • Potential implications
  • References
Access the Tool

Format of the Tool


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Using the Tool

Time for Participation/Completion

Information not available

Additional Resources and/or Skills Needed for Implementation

Not Specified

Steps for Using Method/Tool

The process for developing evidence briefings from systematic reviews includes three phases.

Phase One: Development
The process of developing the evidence briefing can be broken down into the following seven steps:

1) Generate topics

2) Clarify the research question

3) Search for systematic reviews

4) Search for economic evidence (economic evaluations)

5) Assess quality of systematic reviews and economic evaluations

6) Relate evidence to the local context

7) Assess evidence with respect to implications for health equity

8) Assess implementation issues of any changes to practice

Phase Two: Peer Review/Quality Control
Briefings should be reviewed and edited by a second researcher and representative(s) of the decision-making organization at a minimum.

Phase Three: Evaluation
Evaluation of use, usefulness and impact should be conducted. The authors include an Evaluation Briefing Questionnaire that can be used for this phase.

Who is involved

Individuals or groups responsible for developing briefing notes on public health issues could use this tool. This may include, but is not limited to, public health staff, policy-makers, program managers and government/non-profit employees.

Conditions for Use

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Evaluation of the Tool


Has been evaluated.

Chambers et al. (2011) conducted a scoping review to identify and describe knowledge translation resources, including evidence summaries and policy briefs, used to synthesize research evidence into useful formats to support decision-makers. They found a broad range of knowledge translation resources available. However, few published evaluations assessed the effectiveness of evidence summaries. Available evaluation studies documented the challenges in summarizing evidence into actionable messages that are helpful to decision-makers, and the challenges in engaging with decision-makers and policy-makers in the process of producing evidence summaries.


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Methodological Rating

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Development of the Tool


Duncan Chambers
Paul Wilson
University of York
Website: http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/
TRiP-LaB project
Website: http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/projects/trip_lab.htm

Method of Development

This framework and checklist were developed by the authors based on a scoping review (Chambers et al. 2011). They also considered their experiences in creating evidence summaries in consultation with decision-makers, and in using SUPPORT tools for evidence-informed policy-making. This resource was developed from a collaborative research project, the TRiP-LaB Programme (Translating Research into Practice in Leeds and Bradford), involving researchers from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York and health professionals at the National Health Service (NHS).

Release Date


Contact Person/Source

Duncan Chambers
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
University of York
Heslington, UK YO10 5DD
Email: duncan.chambers@york.ac.uk

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.

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