A project to improve the information seeking skills and increase the use of evidence-based research in public health practice

Helena VonVille, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The ability of public health practitioners (PHPs) to work efficiently and effectively is negatively impacted by their lack of knowledge of the broad range of evidence-based practice information resources and tools that can be utilized to guide them in their development of health policies and programs. This project, a three-hour continuing education hands-on workshop with supporting resources, was designed to increase knowledge and skills of these resources. The workshop was presented as a pre-conference continuing education program for the Texas Public Health Association (TPHA) 2008 Annual Conference. Topics included: identification of evidence-based practice resources to aid in the development of policies and programs; identification of sources of publicly available data; utilization of data for community assessments; and accessing and searching the literature through a collection of databases available to all citizens of Texas. Supplemental resources included a blog that served as a gateway to the resources explored during the presentation, a community assessment workbook that incorporates both Healthy People 2010 objectives and links to reliable sources of data, and handouts providing additional instruction on the use of the resources covered during the workshop. Before- and after-workshop surveys based on Kirkpatrick's 4-level model of evaluation and the Theory of Planned Behavior were administered. Of the questions related to the trainer, the workshop, and the usefulness of the workshop, participants gave "Good" to "Excellent" responses to all one question. Confidence levels overall increased a statistically significant amount; measurements of attitude, social norms, and control showed no significant differences before and after the workshop. Lastly, participants indicated they were likely to use resources shown during the workshop within a one to three month time period on average. The workshop and creation of supplemental resources served as a pilot for a funded project that will be continued with the development and delivery of four 4-week long webinar-based training sessions to be completed by December 2008.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

VonVille, Helena, "A project to improve the information seeking skills and increase the use of evidence-based research in public health practice" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450290.