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Advancing the Use of Knowledge Synthesis to Inform Policy and Decision Making in Agri-food Public Health

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Title: Advancing the Use of Knowledge Synthesis to Inform Policy and Decision Making in Agri-food Public Health
Author: Pham, Mai
Department: Department of Population Medicine
Program: Population Medicine
Advisor: McEwen, Scott
Abstract: The research described in this thesis aims to advance the use of knowledge synthesis to inform policy and decision making in the field of agri-food public health. The scoping review is a relatively new approach to reviewing the literature for which there is not yet a standard study definition or definitive procedure. A scoping review was conducted to map out the characteristics and range of methodological processes used in scoping reviews identified in the published and grey literature. The results of the scoping review were used to propose a methodological framework for conducting scoping reviews, providing guidance and specific examples relevant to the field of agri-food public health. The framework is intended to advance the approach and enhance the consistency with which they are undertaken and reported, and help bring greater awareness about the scoping review as a research synthesis approach among the agri-food public health community. A survey was conducted to investigate the extent to which policy and decision makers in Canada are aware of and have used evidence from systematic reviews and other knowledge syntheses, and to evaluate their perceptions on the utility of systematic reviews and three review-derived summary formats to inform policy, practice and planning. The survey results indicate that summary formats highlighting the key findings of systematic reviews in plain language and incorporating supportive contextual information may help to increase the uptake of evidence from systematic reviews into policy and practice decisions. An empirical comparative study was undertaken to assess the potential implications of four methodological shortcuts on the outcomes of three completed systematic reviews-meta-analyses addressing agri-food public health topics. The study results highlighted the risk of missing relevant literature when methodological shortcuts are applied to expedite systematic reviews, and will better enable rapid reviews authors to determine the most appropriate approach to synthesis when time is limited.
Date: 2015-05
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
Related Publications: Pham MT, Raji? A, Greig JD, Sargeant JM, Papadopoulos A, and McEwen SA. 2014. A scoping review of scoping reviews: advancing the approach and enhancing the consistency. Research Synthesis Methods 5(4):371-385. DOI: 10.1002/jrsm.1123.

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