The National Institute for Health Research commissioned the School for Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield to become a Public Health Review Team in 2018.
The job of the team is to carry out evidence reviews which will look for, bring together and evaluate research that has already been carried out. Public health evidence reviews can examine research on a wide range of topics which have an impact on the health and wellbeing of the population, either as a whole or for specific communities or groups.
Researchers at The University of Sheffield are very experienced in carrying out this sort of research and provide expertise across a wide range of topics.
The purpose of the work we do
The aim is that findings from reviews carried out by the team will help in the planning of future public health programmes and research. We aim that our work will be useful for everybody who has involvement in public health.
Methods we are using
We are asked to look at particular topics and particular research questions. For each topic we look at a wide selection of research on public health that is already available. It is important that the way we carry out the work is good value for money, and that we complete each project quickly and efficiently. To achieve this we usually carry out an initial brief overview to find out what research is available and then ask relevant people what might be of most interest and use to them, which guides what we then look at in more depth.
In order to ensure that reviews are carried out efficiently we use computer software to manage all the stages of the review. Additionally we have several different members of the team available to work on the projects as and when needed. We will involve other people during all stages of each research project in order to ensure that we are asking the right questions, looking at a wide selection of research that is available, putting the results together in a meaningful way, and drawing conclusions that are helpful.
Sharing the research finds
We put a plan in place for each project, which details who the key people are that need to know about the findings of our research, and what ways we will use to inform them. It is important to use lots of different ways of sharing the findings of our work so that the information is in a form which is clearly understood and usable.
We use methods including producing written summaries of what we have found, short videos and presentations, toolkits, and will use social media to publicise findings. We have a wealth of experience in translating wide ranging reviews into useful products. For example we recently produced a widely shared poster which summarises the findings of our comparison of public health policy across the four countries of the UK. We also recently produced a checklist of factors influencing the implementation of integrated care programmes which is now being used by people engaged in service change in the NHS who have reported it has been helpful in developing local programmes.