Community Health Research Tools

The Illinois Prevention Research Center suggests the following resources for planning, implementing and evaluating evidence-based changes in policy or the environment to promote healthier communities.

Active Living

Bridging the Gap: Research informing Policies and Practices for Healthy Youth offers research briefs and products regarding policies and environmental factors that influence physical activity among youth. Our parks study uses Bridging the Gap’s Community Obesity Measures Project park observation form.

Active Living Research Tools and Measures — observational tools to assess the environment or physical activity, surveys to assess perceptions of the environment

Community-Based Research

The Community Guide offers science-based recommendations and findings on strategies and policies that improve health and prevent disease in communities.

The CDC Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) highlight the status of public health policies and practices in every state regarding 10 important public health problems, including tobacco use and obesity, and identifies potential solutions to the problems drawn from research and expert recommendations. See the 2013 PSR for Illinois (PDF).

Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.

The Community Tool Box

Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE) Tool and Action Guide

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP). Developed by the National Association of County and City Health Officials, this site offers community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health.

Food Policy

Illinois PRC Food Store Audit Tool — The Illinois PRC modified Bridging the Gap Research’s food store audit tool for the evaluation of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative in Chicago and Rockford, supported by the NOPREN network. The 12-page instrument (PDF) has been tested for reliability in PRC research. It provides measures for the availability, quality, and price of a variety of food and beverage items. The instrument also measures store characteristics, item display, exterior marketing, and food store compliance to the guidelines for being authorized to accept SNAP benefits. Users can use the entire instrument or specific sections that address their community’s policy needs.

State Laws for School Snack Foods and Beverages – Bridging the Gap: Research informing Policies and Practices for Healthy Youth offers the most extensive data about laws in every state regarding snack foods and beverages in schools. Several Illinois PRC scientists worked on this project, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Program Evaluation

CDC Program Evaluation. This site contains step-by-step manuals and other evaluation resources, including the CDC Framework for Program Evaluation.