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Research and Projects

Methods to synthesise evidence of implementation and knowledge translation

Theme: CLAHRC - Evidence for Policy and Practice
Status: Live

This review is being led by the Evidence Synthesis Team.


Understanding and evaluating the processes involved in promoting the uptake of research findings into routine practice to improve the quality of health care services is a growing area of interest for clinicians, researchers, healthcare managers, policy-makers and patients. Evaluations of implementation and the factors affecting the successful implementation of interventions take a variety of forms and may involve the collection of qualitative or quantitative data on the adoption, feasibility, fidelity, cost and sustainability of interventions.

The methods of systematic review and evidence syntheses are well recognised as providing robust and transparent summaries of the current state of the evidence.  It seems reasonable therefore, that the gathering together of primary reports of evaluations of implementation to identify shared messages would be helpful in understanding the mechanisms underlying successful and unsuccessful implementation of health research into policy and practice. 

A brief scoping of the literature identified a wealth of different approaches to the synthesis of evaluations of implementation in the literature.  Such approaches included systematic review of process evaluations, realist synthesis, qualitative syntheses of barriers and facilitators of implementation and the consideration of determinants of behaviour change.

Project aims

This systematic review aimed to collate and describe all existing systematic reviews and evidence syntheses in this area, to assess the methodological quality of identified reviews, consider whether existing quality appraisal tools are appropriate in this field, and to map and describe the variety of approaches to synthesis in terms of the objective and approach of the reviews.

Further information

For more information, read the review protocol.

To discuss this project further please contact Jo Thompson Coon via email.