Session: Methodological Challenges and Strategies for Conducting Implementation Research (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

RMW-3 Methodological Challenges and Strategies for Conducting Implementation Research


Enola Proctor, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis
Thursday, January 14, 2010: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Seacliff C (Hyatt Regency)
One of the greatest challenges for researchers and practitioners is the translation of knowledge into evidence-based programs and policies. University-based research yields a growing supply of new findings which, unfortunately, are often “lost in translation” for 15-20 years before their incorporation into practice. Within translational research, implementation research (IR) constitutes the scientific study of how to move efficacious practices from clinical research into routine, real-world use. Implementation research is considered “T2” research, or the second translational step in moving discovery into community practice. While dissemination research addresses the spread of information, implementation research is concerned with the adoption and use of actual practices. Implementation research (IR) has been hampered by underdeveloped concepts and measurement tools, a dominance of exploratory research yielding barriers to implementation but not strategies to overcome those barriers, and complex and expensive research designs. Methodological limitations prevent us from developing the knowledge needed by every researcher, administrator, policy maker and individual practitioner facing decisions about implementing evidence-based practices. This workshop will introduce participants to methodological challenges in implementation research (IR) and present innovative methods to meet those challenges. It will address the importance of stakeholder engagement in implementation research to ensure that implementation is sensitive to local factors, diverse cultures,and diverse populations to be served. Topics addressed in the workshop include: • Key definitions of implementation research • Conceptual models of IR and research implications • Multilevel influences and multiple stakeholders inherent in implementation processes, to ensure relevance, acceptance and appropriateness to local context and populations • Implementation outcomes and tools for measurement (acceptability, feasibility, sustainability, etc.) • Mixed methods of data collection, including stakeholder assessment methods • Design challenges and innovative approaches • Strategies for enhancing efficiency in IR At end of this workshop, participants will understand what implementation research is, be familiar with guiding conceptual models, understand key methodological choices and tools, and be able to identify key components in IR and methodological decision junctures.
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