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Policy and research

Are you involved in making, or supporting those, who make decisions about health policies and programmes? This collection of Guides offers useful resources to help you better understand and access the research evidence used to inform policymaking. It also provides an insight into the use of knowledge exchange as a bridge between research and policy.

Policy makers are a diverse group, but they have in common the authority to make or influence decisions directly. (Lavis 2009) For those involved in health care policy, an understanding of health care systems and the key sectors involved is essential. In the development of health care policy important decisions often draw on evidence stemming from research conducted in the clinical setting, and reported in scientific and medical journals. Therefore Accessing research information, and being able to evaluate it, are important skills for those involved in health care policy making. Keeping up to date with research is also important, and for policy makers with limited time the ability to access high quality evidence summaries and rapid reviews is essential.

Communication is also important to policy makers and researchers alike. However, their differing priorities, coupled with the lack of a common technical language, can sometimes be a barrier to information exchange. Understanding the art of knowledge exchange can help to identify the needs and contributions of both parties, and guide the development of evidence-informed health care policy.

The following collection of Guides will provide useful information on primary health care systems and the essential skills needed for understanding and translating research evidence into effective policy.

Guides in this collection

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Introduction to... Research impact on policy

Researchers and policy makers bring different perspectives to the policy making process. This Guide outlines some key issues for researchers to consider when influencing policy development.

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How to... Access journal articles

Discover ways you can access the full text for health and medical journal articles.

Introduction to... Accessing the Grey Literature

Grey literature is now considered a viable source of reference material in literature reviews but can be hard to find. This guide provides a roadmap to grey literature databases and the appropriate use of 'grey' resources in research.

Introduction to... Australian health reform

Provides information, resources and links to key documents relevant to Australian health reform.

Introduction to... Evidence-informed health policy

Evidence-informed health policy is part of a general trend towards incorporating research evidence in policy decision-making. As with evidence- based medicine, the aim is to improve outcomes and cost-effectiveness by implementing practices that are supported by the best available evidence.

Introduction to... Knowledge Exchange

Knowledge Exchange is the dynamic process of making the best use of research evidence and knowledge to inform policy and practice. This Guide outlines key developments within the field of knowledge exchange to influence policy and inform practice in primary health care.

Introduction to... Plain language

Plain language improves communication by using clear terms that are easily understood. This guide provides you with tips on using plain language to reach your audience.

Introduction to... Primary Health Care

Includes definitions, position statements and suggested reading about Primary Health Care (PHC).

Introduction to... Primary health care systems

Provides information about and sources of further information on the primary health care systems in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.

Introduction to... Rapid Responses

A Rapid Response is a brief review of evidence related to a specific policy area requested by policymakers, with a view to developing policy that is informed by evidence.

Introduction to... Research impact on policy

Researchers and policy makers bring different perspectives to the policy making process. This Guide outlines some key issues for researchers to consider when influencing policy development.