Bringing Health Literacy Research to Practice

This article explores how research informs practice and what constitutes evidence when looking for evidence-based materials in a new field such as health literacy.

Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Kurtz-Rossi and Associates Health Literacy Consulting
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages
Product Type

This article explores how research informs practice and what constitutes evidence when looking for evidence-based materials in a new field such as health literacy. This is a difficult question in this field because there is very little rigorous quantitative research that directly informs health literacy practice in adult education settings. The article defines some basic types of research that can be used to evaluate and develop health literacy programs and interventions. It also offers an expansive annotated bibliography of health literacy research, which could be used to help search for connections between types of research that have been done and adult literacy practices that are being used or considered.

As the article suggests, bibliographies like this could be used in a study circle by adult literacy practitioners to help validate health literacy practices, projects or approaches. This could be a good starting point to explore what constitutes evidence-based health literacy practices. The bibliography also highlights some past projects that had some basis in research, which could serve as models for future work.

What the experts say

This resource is VERY useful to those of us in literacy areas with an interest in health literacy. It includes practical items (vs. heavy medical research documents) that can be used on our own in continuing research and activities as we work with adults across the country and integrate health literacy information.

This article begins with useful information about the differences between qualitative and quantitative research and a description of the difficulties of both research paradigms in the field of health literacy. That discussion is followed by a listing of useful and informative articles on research done in health literacy, which illustrate both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

This resource is most valuable to the field of adult education/health literacy for its suggestion of study circles as a way for practitioners to explore how to use research to improve practice in their own settings. There is a link for more information and a list of great resources that could be used in study circles.

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