Method for Synthesizing Knowledge about Public Policies: Summary

Public policies affect population health. Public health actors are called upon to document this phenomenon, in particular, by producing knowledge syntheses. To meet the needs of decision makers, a knowledge synthesis must consider not only the effects and the equity of the public policy being studied, but also the issues surrounding its implementation (cost, feasibility, acceptability).

Drawing inspiration from political science, from literature on evidence-informed decision making in public health, and from work on evaluation and on deliberative processes, the NCCHPP has developed a method for producing such syntheses. This method is presented in the form of a step by step guide incorporating questions to ask oneself, practical advice, and several tools for facilitating the process, so as to enable public health actors to synthesize knowledge about public policies, a specific subject of study.

This summary sets forth the method in an abridged format. It first presents an analytical framework that makes it possible to document the effects and equity of a policy being studied, along with its implementation issues. We then discuss the types and sources of data to be considered when documenting these various aspects. Next, the knowledge synthesis method is described in a step by step manner as follows:

  • Inventory of policies and selection of the subject of the knowledge synthesis.
  • Construction of the logic model of the policy being studied.
  • Review of the scientific and grey literatures.
  • Enrichment and contextualization of the data through deliberative processes.

This summary concludes with a few words about the possible uses of this knowledge synthesis method.

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The complete report is also available: Method for Synthesizing Knowledge about Public Policies.

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ISBN (electronic): 

978-2-550-61835-5

ISBN (print): 

978-2-550-61834-8

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