One theme was the importance of ensuring that policymakers are provided with research syntheses and summaries that match their needs. This was the lesson from a study from Monash University, Australia, that interviewed 43 policymakers on a strategy aimed at supporting the use of systematic reviews in health policy. The policymakers in this study overwhelmingly agreed that research summaries were critical to increase the use of research. The study demonstrated a need for layered or “graded-entry” formats, ranging from short summaries all the way up to detailed reports. It showed the need for a mechanism to assess policymakers’ changing research needs so they could be targeted with a relevant synthesis.
This was also the message from a 2011 study from the US, which tested four different types of policy briefs on mammography screening with nearly 300 policymakers. The study authors found different types of policymakers tended to like different types of briefs, with staffers more likely to report a preference for story-focused briefs and legislators preferring data-focused briefs.
Another theme to emerge was the need for better collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and for the two to build closer relationships. One large study, involving nearly 1,000 policymakers, looked at an intervention where researchers presented their findings directly to policymakers in either traditional seminars or interactive roundtables. Policymakers agreed that such presentations stimulated their thinking, that the interactive roundtables were more relevant to their needs compared with traditional seminars, and that the new knowledge could be used in their work as policymakers.
Three of the studies under review focused on increasing organisational capacity to use research. A Canadian study looked at a scheme to improve implementation of best practice guidelines in health promotion programmes using a team of “organisational champions”, while a Dutch study explored the use of masterclasses for public health professionals and policymakers supporting a practice-based research project. — http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/11/12/less-than-5-of-papers-on-the-use-of-research-in-health-policymaking-tested-interventions-to-see-what-worked-but-those-studies-reveal-a-number-of-strategies-for-improvement/