Skip to main content

Table 1 Summary of key findings from framework analysis

From: Use and value of systematic reviews in English local authority public health: a qualitative study

Thematic category Key findings
Use of systematic reviews in decision-making • Systematic reviews used to some extent in commissioning and policy-making.
• Other evidence used alongside or instead of reviews, with grey literature from specific organisations highly valued.
• Use of systematic reviews varies between individuals, job roles and LAs.
Finding and selecting reviews • PHPs have search and appraisal skills but time is a barrier.
• Literature often found through quick searches or other routes and quality assessed informally.
• Diverging views on the value of non-systematic reviews, with factors other than methodology more important for some PHPs.
Barriers to use • Limited number of reviews on some key topics in LA public health, narrow focus of reviews and restricted access to full texts are all key barriers.
• Other barriers include generalisability to place and LA context and the involvement of politicians in decision-making.
Improving the usefulness of systematic reviews • Suggestions included providing executive summaries, recommendations for practice and economic evidence.
Role of PHPs in advocating for evidence use • Senior PHPs perceive themselves as having role advocating for use of evidence in wider LA.
• Commitment to evidence use linked to professional identity.
• Evidence used in range of ways to influence or persuade, including symbolic use and more nuanced ways.
Engagement with research outside decision-making • PHPs frequently engage with research, often through a personal commitment to maintaining knowledge and professional development.
Value of systematic reviews in LA context • Systematic reviews highly valued in principle but limits to value and impact in LAs.
• Decision-making is complex and there are contesting interpretations of evidence, with local and anecdotal evidence valued.
  1. LAs Local authorities; PHPs Public health practitioners