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Prev Chronic Dis. 2017 Feb 2;14:E10. doi: 10.5888/pcd14.160292.

Comparison of Research Framing Preferences and Information Use of State Legislators and Advocates Involved in Cancer Control, United States, 2012-2013.

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Washington University in St. Louis, Campus Box 1196, One Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO 63130. Email:
Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri.
Department of Surgery and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri.



Evidence-based policy plays an important role in prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. The needs of actors involved in policy decision-making should inform knowledge translation strategies. This study examines the differences between state legislators and advocates in how they seek and use information and what their preferences are for how research information is framed.


We conducted a cross-sectional comparison of survey responses by US advocates (n = 77) and state legislators (n = 265) working on issues related to cancer control.


Advocates differed significantly from legislators on all demographic characteristics. Advocates reported seeking and using information more frequently than legislators, though legislators used legislative research bureaus more often (0.45 point difference, P = .004). Both legislators and advocates prioritized the presentation and timeliness of research information similarly but reported different preferences for source (information bias, information relevance, delivery of information by trusted person) of research information. Several differences between advocates and legislators were modified by participant age.


Our study provides insights for development of knowledge translation strategies to enhance evidence-based policy making for cancer control that are tailored to state-level legislators and advocates. Additional research efforts should evaluate the effectiveness of such knowledge translation strategies, particularly among advocates.

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