Download the Self-Assessment Tool, or SAT (PDF, 94 KB)

How can a self-assessment tool help?

Many organizations would like to make better use of research, but aren't sure where to start. Others feel they're doing well, but would also like to know if there are areas they could improve.

Through self-assessment, an organization can discover its strengths, identify gaps, and make plans for addressing priority areas in the future. We hope the tool will not only help in self-evaluation, but also provide ideas for where and how to enhance research use.

Acquire evidence

Can the organization find the research evidence it needs?

Assess evidence

Can the organization assess whether the research is reliable and high-quality, and whether it is relevant and applicable?

Adapt its format

Can the organization present the evidence to appropriate decision-makers in a useful format, which synthesizes recommendations, conclusions and key issues?

Apply it in decisions

Does the organization have the skills, structures, processes and corporate culture to promote and use research evidence in decision-making?

How can research help managers and policy-makers?

Health service funders and providers are trying to make difficult financial, structural, service and resource decisions in a rapidly changing and highly complex environment. They are bombarded with vast quantities of information — frequently contradictory — by a multitude of stakeholders and interest groups. At the same time, demands for ever-higher levels of accountability come from service providers, users, and funders alike.

Research evidence complements — not replaces — the many other forms of data and knowledge which go into making decisions. The growing body of research evidence can help managers and policy-makers evaluate the feasibility and potential impact of their options. Good use of the available research can also make it easier to explain where decisions came from, and sometimes help broker between interest groups with competing arguments. By improving the organization's use of research in decision-making, both health-system decision-makers and stakeholders can become increasingly confident that they are making the best investments possible to improve the health of Canadians.

How do you use the tool?

The Self-assessment Tool (SAT) looks at organizational, not individual capacity to use research. Test users have therefore strongly emphasized the importance of developing an organizational, rather than individual response. In addition, potential users have felt that the process of filling out the self-assessment — that is, the cross-organizational discussion required to answer the questions — could be even more valuable than the actual answers eventually reached.

As a result, CFHI recommends that pilot users develop a cross-organizational team to collectively undertake the self-assessment. Such a team might include, for example, members of the board, senior management and front-line workers. There are no right or wrong answers in the self-assessment. Each group will have to decide whether, given the unique circumstances of the organization, it is doing as much as it could and should be doing, with respect to each of the assessment areas.