Practice-Based Evidence in Community Guide Systematic Reviews

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To assess the relative contributions and quality of practice-based evidence (PBE) and research-based evidence (RBE) in The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide).


We developed operational definitions for PBE and RBE in which the main distinguishing feature was whether allocation of participants to intervention and comparison conditions was under the control of researchers (RBE) or not (PBE). We conceptualized a continuum between RBE and PBE. We then categorized 3656 studies in 202 reviews completed since The Community Guide began in 1996.


Fifty-four percent of studies were PBE and 46% RBE. Community-based and policy reviews had more PBE. Health care system and programmatic reviews had more RBE. The majority of both PBE and RBE studies were of high quality according to Community Guide scoring methods.


The inclusion of substantial PBE in Community Guide reviews suggests that evidence of adequate rigor to inform practice is being produced. This should increase stakeholders' confidence that The Community Guide provides recommendations with real-world relevance. Limitations in some PBE studies suggest a need for strengthening practice-relevant designs and external validity reporting standards.

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