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Table 1 Characteristics of included studies

From: The effectiveness of evidence summaries on health policymakers and health system managers use of evidence from systematic reviews: a systematic review

Study ID Methods Participants Intervention description Outcomes
Brownson 2011 [23] RCT Legislative staff members (e.g., committee staff), state legislators, and executive branch administrators (e.g., division directors, program heads) 4 different policy briefs on mammography screening to reduce breast cancer mortality
- Data-focused brief with state-level data
- Data-focused brief with local-level data
- Story-focused brief with state-level data
- Story-focused brief with local-level data
Each participant was emailed 1 of the 4 briefs.
Self-reported understandability 
(using 3 measures assessing whether the information was presented clearly in an attractive way and held the reader’s attention) and credibility (2 measures that assessed whether the information in the brief was believable and accurate)
Carrasco-Labra 2016 [30] RCT Health care professionals, guideline developers and researchers that use and/or develop systematic reviews An alternate summary of findings table was compared against the current format
- Alternate format provides options to display the same data in a different way or to provide supplementary data to the current format
Self-reported understanding assessed with 7 multiple choice questions (5 response options). Self-reported accessibility of information assessed with 3 self-reported domains (how easy it is to find critical information, how easy it is to understand the information, whether the information is presented in a useful way for decision-making. Satisfaction measured by asking which about satisfaction with the different formatting elements. Preference assessed using a 7-point Likert scale for the 2 tables
Dobbins 2009 [25] RCT Front line staff, managers, directors, coordinators, and others from public health departments in Canada (those directly responsible for making program decisions related to healthy body weight promotion in children) 1st group (control)
- Access to health-evidence.ca and received an email about access to this resource
2nd group
- Received tailored, targeted messages—7 emails with titles of 7 high-quality SRs related to health body weight promotion in children and links to full text, abstract, and summary, plus access to health-evidence.ca
3rd group
- Same intervention as the 2nd group plus access to a full-time knowledge broker who was available to ensuring relevant research, was provided to the decision makers in a way that was useful, helped them to develop skills for evidence-informed decision-making, and translating the evidence
Self-reported global evidence-informed decision-making (participants were asked to report the extent to which research evidence was considered in a recent program planning decision within the previous 12 months) related to healthy body weight promotion and public health policies and programs measured by the sum of actual strategies, policies, and/or interventions for healthy body weight promotion in children being implemented by the department
Masset 2013 [26, 29] RCT Individuals who normally read policy briefs related to international development, e.g., employed in academia, NGOs, and international aid organizations, some self-reported influence on policy decisions and therefore considered policymakers 3 versions of a policy brief summarizing the results of a SR
- One group received a standard policy brief
- 2nd group received a policy brief with director’s commentary
- 3rd group received the policy brief with unnamed research fellow’s commentary
Beliefs about the effectiveness of and strength of the evidence for the interventions included in the briefs
Opiyo 2013 [27] RCT Panel of healthcare professionals with roles in neonatal and pediatric policy and care in Kenya 3 intervention packages
- Pack A contained a systematic review alone
- Pack B included systematic reviews with summary of findings tables
- Pack C received an evidence summary with a graded entry format
Self-reported understanding of the summary content measured by the proportion of correct responses to clinical questions relevant to the effects of the intervention.
Value and accessibility (usefulness and usability) of the evidence was assessed using a 3- or 5-point scale
Vandvik 2012 [28] RCT All panelists for the antithrombotic therapy and prevention of thrombosis, American College of Chest Physicians 2 formats of the evidence profile that differed by 4 features
- Placement of additional information
- Placement of overall quality of evidence
- Study event rates
- Absolute risk differences
Each group received 1 of 4 emails with similar text but different links allowing download of the evidence profile
User preferences for specific formatting options and the overall format of the table were assessed using a 7-point Likert scale
Comprehension of key findings was assessed with multiple choice questions
Accessibility of the information for quality of evidence and relative and absolute effects was assessed using 3
domains: easy to find, easy to understand, and helpful in making recommendation using a 7-point scale
Time needed to comprehend information about quality assessment and key findings was assessed by asking participants to record the time before and after answering questions testing comprehension