Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 1035–1041 | Cite as

Framing research for state policymakers who place a priority on cancer

  • Ross C. Brownson
  • Elizabeth A. Dodson
  • Jon F. Kerner
  • Sarah Moreland-Russell
Short Communication



Despite the potential for reducing the cancer burden via state policy change, few data exist on how best to disseminate research information to influence state legislators’ policy choices. We explored: (1) the relative importance of core framing issues (source, presentation, timeliness) among policymakers who prioritize cancer and those who do not prioritize cancer and (2) the predictors of use of research in policymaking.


Cross-sectional data were collected from US state policymakers (i.e., legislators elected to state houses or senates) from January through October 2012 (n = 862). One-way analysis of variance was performed to investigate the association of the priority of cancer variable with outcome variables. Multivariate logistic regression models examined predictors of the influence of research information.


Legislators who prioritized cancer tended to rate characteristics that make research information useful higher than those who did not prioritize cancer. Among differences that were statistically significant were three items in the “source” domain (relevance, delivered by someone respected, supports one’s own position), one item in the “presentation” domain (telling a story related to constituents) and two items in the “timeliness” domain (high current state priority, feasible when information is received). Participants who prioritized cancer risk factors were 80 % more likely to rate research information as one of their top reasons for choosing an issue on which to work.


Our results suggest the importance of narrative forms of communication and that research information needs to be relevant to the policymakers’ constituents in a brief, concise format.


Cancer control Evidence Health policy Policy making Research 



The authors are grateful for the assistance from the National Conference of State Legislatures. This research was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (Grant Numbers 1R01CA124404-015, R25CA171994-02, and P30 CA09184); the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (Grant Number 1P30DK092950); and Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (Grant Numbers UL1 TR000448 and KL2 TR000450) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross C. Brownson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elizabeth A. Dodson
    • 2
  • Jon F. Kerner
    • 3
  • Sarah Moreland-Russell
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Surgery and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer CenterWashington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown SchoolWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Canadian Partnership Against CancerTorontoCanada

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