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Research reviews

Peel Public Health staff review available evidence to aid in public health decision making.

To access completed reviews, select your area of interest:

Research Review Processes and Tools

Research review processes guide staff through finding, appraising and summarizing relevant research. Each of the processes is systematic in order to identify the best available research to help make public health decisions. Peel Public Health currently uses four different research review processes. These are meant as a guide, and are flexible to respond to needs and deadlines.

Relevant research is one type of information considered in evidence-informed decision making, in addition to information about the local community, political preferences, consideration of resources and professional expertise.

The research review processes are:

  1. rapid review
  2. focused practice question
  3. research mapping
  4. background reading

Rapid review

This process is used to inform a significant public health decision. This may include starting or discontinuing an initiative, or significantly modifying an existing program.

An example of a rapid review question might be:

What are effective tobacco prevention interventions to prevent males in their late teens and early twenties from becoming regular smokers?

Rapid review tools.

Focused practice question

A focused practice question is appropriate when a decision does not hold significant risk and will not considerably impact health outcomes, resources or programming. The search may be date-limited and you might only choose one or two of the most recent, high-quality papers to review.

An example of a focused practice question might be:

What is the most acceptable delivery method for nicotine replacement?

Research mapping

Research mapping reveals the extent of research in an area of interest and describes aspects of the research. Research variables that are “mapped out” when compiling the results may include: level of article synthesis, quality of articles, methodological tools utilized, and the type of literature (e.g. grey literature).

Research mapping may uncover the populations, exposures, interventions, and outcomes that have been researched on a topic.

Additionally, this process may assist in the articulation of a subsequent question. Decisions about programs are not made based solely on this type of review and the risk to the organization is low.

An example of a research mapping question might be:

What is in the published literature about smoking and young males?

Background reading

Similar to research mapping, background reading does not necessarily support a particular decision, but may provide information about definitions in the research, or an understanding of a particular concept or theory.

No decision about programs will be made and there is very low risk to the organization. Documentation would be optional, according to the needs of the user.

An example of a background reading question might be:

What is the difference between a tobacco inhaler and an e-cigarette?


Date Created: December 8, 2010
Date Modified: December 4, 2015

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