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Introducing a New Research Guide on How to Evaluate Use of Guidelines by Melissa Jennings

I’m Melissa Jennings, and I work in the Division of Laboratory Systems in the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Atlanta, Georgia.
I’m excited to share a new resource from the CDC that includes open-access materials for evaluating how guidelines are applied in public health: Research Guide on Evaluation of the Use of Guidelines. This research guide includes open-access materials on how to evaluate the use of guidelines in public health and related fields. This new resource provides example evaluations and tools relevant to evaluation design and planning. The documents featured in each section reveal options to plan and implement similar evaluations in public health settings and beyond.

Lessons Learned:
Many of the articles in the literature evaluate guideline development but not use. Searching for examples on ‘use’ felt like looking for a needle in a haystack. In the end, articles included in CDC’s research guide address evaluation questions that speak to important aspects of guideline use, such as adoption, adaptation, or adherence. For example, Grey’s article uses evaluation to reveal barriers to guideline use in varying clinical settings. Users could scan evaluation questions, methods, and results in each article to find content relevant to their work. Reviewing real-world examples could inform how you design and implement your evaluation.

Hot Tips:

  • Examine specific aspects of guidelines use to focus your evaluation. The evaluations featured in this guide examine awareness, adoption, implementation, adaptation, and adherence to guidelines – all specific aspects of use. It could be helpful to understand each of these concepts to determine the desired focus of your evaluation; the examples in this research guide reveal that designs vary to match the aspect of use you’re interested in.
  • Adapt existing evaluation tools to meet your needs. The research guide also features tools that could support evaluation activities. For example, Damschroder’s article could help you develop a theory of change for a guideline in preparation for evaluation. The Guideline Implementability Appraisal Tool (GLIA) could help you think of ways to collect information about a guideline from practitioners and early adopters. Adapting existing tools could help maximize the resources dedicated to your study.
  • Examine different approaches to data collection and analysis. The evaluations featured in this guide present diverse a

Check out CDC’s other research guides on logic models and evaluation questions.


Disclaimer: The opinions and reflections expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Evaluation of the Use of Guidelines screenshot

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