How You Can Use Insufficient Evidence Findings

Discover Proposal Ideas
You can develop research proposals and funding announcements that address the reasons behind an insufficient evidence finding, such as too few studies or inconsistent results, that could serve to strengthen the evidence base. Proposed studies could

  • Focus on research studies or program evaluations of interventions (e.g., programs, services, and policies) that have a small number of studies demonstrating effectiveness but still need to be studied further
  • Reproduce an intervention to generate more evidence that could become part of the body of evidence that CPSTF reviews when deciding whether to recommend the intervention, or
  • Address factors such as study design, measurement of outcomes, or delivery of the intervention to strengthen the evidence base

Strengthen Your Proposal
You can use information from the Task Force Findings and Rationale Statement (TFFRS) for an insufficient evidence finding to strengthen your proposal. The TFFRS provides the official CPSTF language, including the intervention definition, context and results of the systematic review, considerations for implementation, and evidence gaps. This information can be helpful for developing parts of a research proposal or funding opportunity announcement. You can use the information to

  • Guide development of the Background section
  • Develop a conceptual framework
  • Justify the purpose or need for a program and show public health relevance
What are Insufficient Evidence Findings?

CPSTF uses results from systematic reviews of intervention approaches to issue findings based on the strength of the effectiveness and economic evidence. A finding of insufficient evidence does not mean that the intervention does not work; rather, it means one of two things:

  • Too few studies of fair to good quality exist to draw conclusions.
  • While there are enough studies, the results are inconsistent.

Check this table for the current CPSTF Insufficient Evidence Findings [PDF – 189 KB].

Use of Insufficient Evidence Findings Can Lead to Public Health Impact

Developing research & funding announcements based on insufficient evidence findings; Supports new studies & public health programs; Leads to public health benefits & stronger evidence base; Leads to more CPSTF recommendations on interventions that work in public health practice

Learn more about CPSTF findings and identified evidence gaps, and read an evaluation [PDF – 156 KB] published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that assessed familiarity with, and use of, insufficient evidence findings among NIH staff and external researchers.