Recommendations Practice

1a. If you are developing recommendations, describe your current understanding of the issue, population, evidence and implications. 1b. If you are working with recommendations developed by others, describe your current understanding of them. More info
1a. Are you new to the process of developing recommendations? Remember that the aim of recommendations is to translate knowledge and analysis into action in order to solve a problem or address the needs of a population. As a result, every recommendation should identify a specific goal, such as control of an epidemic or reduced death rates. It is critical to be clear about what this ultimate goal is because it will shape the design as well as the implementation and evaluation of recommendations. You might want to begin by identifying the goal of the recommendations you are developing. Try to summarize what you know or think about this goal. Don’t go into a great amount of detail at this stage, just list the main points and don’t worry about getting it ‘right’.

1b. Are you working with recommendations developed by others with the purpose of finding ways to implement or evaluate them? Take a moment to summarize these recommendations. Don’t overthink this exercise. Just quickly list the main points and don’t worry about getting it ‘right’ at this stage.


Do your recommendations address the core concepts of sex, gender, diversity and equity?

2a. Sex? More info
Tip: If you need a quick refresher on how the core concepts are defined, click here.

Characterize a population using the core concepts of sex, gender, diversity and equity.

Do these recommendations recognize and address the differing needs and experiences of females, males and those who identify as neither or both? If not, why not.

Hint: Remember that sex is biological and is expressed along a continuum.

For example, recommendations for weight loss programs need to include an understanding that male and female bodies gain and lose weight differently. A single program of exercise or diet is not likely to work equally well for males and females or for those who identify as neither or both.

Hint: Gaps in the evidence may make it impossible to develop recommendations that address the entire continuum of sex. But data may be available for males and females, if not for those who identify as neither or both. Sometimes researchers try to ensure a balance of female and male participants in their studies, but then do not report their findings by sex. Sex-disaggregated data may be available if you ask for it.
2b. Gender? More info
Do these recommendations address gender norms and roles? If not, why not?

Hint: Remember that gender is social and is expressed along a continuum.

For example, women and men smoke for different reasons and face different challenges when trying to quit smoking. Yet many policies and programs aimed at reducing rates of smoking are geared for the “general population” and do not attend to the differing needs and experiences of females, males and those who identify as neither or both. As a result, they are not likely to be as effective as those that address gender norms and roles.
2c. Diversity? More info
Do these recommendations consider visible and invisible differences among people? Do these recommendations meet the needs of one population or a variety of populations?

Tip: Use the social determinants of health as a quick guide for thinking about types of diversity and their significance.

List of social determinants of health.

For example, for decades the Canada Food Guide offered a single set of recommendations for healthy eating. It was assumed that everybody had the same nutritional needs, the same food preferences and the same ability to get the recommended types and quantities of food. But recently a new set of healthy eating guidelines was developed for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada, acknowledging that different populations and cultures have diverse food tastes as well as varying access to specific types of foods.
2d. Equity? More info

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do these recommendations respond to all those who are at risk, in need and/or affected?  If not, why not?
  2. Do these recommendations address differences between and among populations? 
  3. Do these recommendations recognize if differences among populations and/or gaps in knowledge are unfair – caused by inequity or leading to inequity?
  4. Are these recommendations likely to reduce or deepen existing health inequities?
Tip: Need a reminder about the definitions of equity and equality?

Distinguish between equity and equality.

The example of policies and programs aimed at reducing tobacco use highlights the importance of paying attention to equity. Policies that encourage people to quit smoking are likely to contribute to improvements in lung health, but if these policies reduce consumption of tobacco products, those involved in growing and manufacturing, many of whom are women, may end up being less healthy in other ways because they have lost their jobs and cannot eat well or perhaps even at all.  When developing recommendations, we need to always be on the look-out for unintended consequences.

Comments are closed.








centre-logos ACEWH PWHCE BCCEWH

Except where otherwise noted, original content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.