Evidence Gaps

What are Evidence Gaps?

Each Community Guide systematic review includes a list of critical evidence gaps that limit the CPSTF’s ability to answer questions about the intervention approach:

  • Will it work for everyone? How might it affect populations differently?
  • Will it work everywhere? Is it more effective in certain settings?
  • Are some intervention components more important than others? Does it matter who delivers the intervention?
  • Are there potential harms associated with the intervention?
  • What are the economic benefits? What are intervention costs, and what is the return on investment? Is it cost-effective?
What are Insufficient Evidence Findings?

A finding of insufficient evidence means that not enough evidence exists to determine if an intervention is effective. In these situations, CPSTF cannot recommend for or against use of an intervention. It does not mean the intervention does not work.

Researchers and funding organizations can use evidence gaps and insufficient evidence findings to prioritize areas for research. Learn more about How You Can Use Insufficient Evidence Findings.

How Can Researchers Use Evidence Gaps?

Researchers and evaluators can use evidence gaps and CPSTF findings of insufficient evidence to set agendas, develop proposals, and design studies. This work can shape the direction of public health interventions and inform program implementation. In addition, newly published studies may become part of the evidence that CPSTF reviews when they update their systematic reviews.

How Can Funding Organizations Use Evidence Gaps?

Agencies and organizations that fund research and program evaluation can highlight identified evidence gaps as priority areas in their funding announcements.

Find evidence gaps for each systematic review under the “WHAT THE TASK FORCE FOUND” tab on the intervention summary page. Use the search engine to identify specific approaches or the drop-down menu to browse Community Guide topics.