Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Anita Kothari


Background: Perceptions of evidence by public health managers, practitioners and policy makers is one of the key determinants of evidence uptake. Therefore, understanding views of evidence in both practice and policy decision making is important to bridge the evidence-practice and policy gap in public health. Objectives & Methods: Two studies are presented in this thesis. The first is a systematic review synthesizing studies exploring the use of research evidence in public health decision making between 2010-2016. The second study is a qualitative descriptive study examining understandings about evidence in Ontario public health units by comparing perspectives from managers and frontline staff across six geographically-diverse units. Main Findings: Drawing from both studies, “evidence” is broadly defined in the public health setting. The organization is an important target for interventions or infrastructure to support the use of evidence. However, managers and staff have different perceptions of evidence use. Training on how to use evidence continues to be an important enabler. Conclusion: Findings from these studies provide insight into how use of evidence can be promoted within both public health policy and practice context.