An Introduction to Evidence-Based Public Health and A Compendium of Critical Appraisal Tools for Public Health Practice
This background paper defines and summarizes the concept of Evidence-Informed Public Health
(EIPH) recognizing that, to use evidence in public health practice and policy development, one must
first critically appraise the available research that provides the basis for that evidence. This paper addresses the need for critical appraisal of primary research studies and systematic reviews to inform effective public health practice. It also outlines a hierarchy of quality of research evidence that can be used to inform public health policy and program delivery. For that reason, this paper presents some of the more commonly used critical appraisal tools. These tools provide basic guidelines and checklists for public health professionals to evaluate the quality of research when reading the literature. Web links in the compendium that accompanies this paper will direct users to some of the most current and usable tools.