Research results can be used to make informed policy decisions to improve the effectiveness of state public health programs and improve the health of the population. Since research on what works is constantly being expanded, recommended public health policies and programs continually increases.

The State Policy Guide to Using Research in Public Health Policymaking describes a process of using this research and public health programs in each of these categories of research: cost-saving, cost-effective, good ideas, no consensus and policies to be discouraged.