lar professional interests (e.g., employee business groups; state, local, or community legislation–based groups). They vary considerably in ho, why, and when they use and incorporate evidence to help them develop strategies for addressing a particular problem.
Evidence is generated by individuals and organizations that conduct research. Researchers do their work in both the public and private sectors, including agencies within local and federal government, academia, foundations, and industry. Many are affiliated with the setting where they perform the research and use their work-affiliated networks, as well as professional organizations and associations to which they belong, to obtain and circulate information. The research they generate is influenced by the resources available to them or the resources they themselves can garner to support their work.
Research Funders. Research is supported by funders that supply the necessary equipment, money, facilities, tools, and other materials. Funders of research also exist throughout the public and private sectors. The main supporters of research in the public sector include local and federal government agencies that focus on public health issues. These agencies, as well as large organizations in the private sector, support the majority of public health–related research. Their decisions to support research on particular topics or groups are based on a variety of protocols and policies their leaders have developed to meet their organizations’ objectives. State or federal legislatures may mandate that certain agencies produce reports on topics of particular importance to their constituencies and may have specific restrictions on how and for what purpose the grants they offer can be used. However, many of the factors that affect decisions to support research are not apparent. For example, private organizations may have policy restrictions on the research they will support, but also have the flexibility to change the focus of their support to meet the needs of their targeted communities or staff members.
Many federal, state, and local government staff members belong to and attend the meetings of a number of field-specific professional organizations. They may also network among themselves through interagency task forces and with the rest of the community through regular meetings with their grantees. A number of private organizations and industry groups are members of or support coalitions and associations as well. For example, the Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership (HEALCP) comprises a number of private organizations and a federal agency that have come together “with the shared goal of changing policies and environments to better achieve the vision of healthy people living in healthy places” (HEALCP, 2008).