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      The utilisation of health research in policy-making: concepts, examples and methods of assessment

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          Abstract

          The importance of health research utilisation in policy-making, and of understanding the mechanisms involved, is increasingly recognised. Recent reports calling for more resources to improve health in developing countries, and global pressures for accountability, draw greater attention to research-informed policy-making. Key utilisation issues have been described for at least twenty years, but the growing focus on health research systems creates additional dimensions.

          The utilisation of health research in policy-making should contribute to policies that may eventually lead to desired outcomes, including health gains. In this article, exploration of these issues is combined with a review of various forms of policy-making. When this is linked to analysis of different types of health research, it assists in building a comprehensive account of the diverse meanings of research utilisation.

          Previous studies report methods and conceptual frameworks that have been applied, if with varying degrees of success, to record utilisation in policy-making. These studies reveal various examples of research impact within a general picture of underutilisation.

          Factors potentially enhancing utilisation can be identified by exploration of: priority setting; activities of the health research system at the interface between research and policy-making; and the role of the recipients, or 'receptors', of health research. An interfaces and receptors model provides a framework for analysis.

          Recommendations about possible methods for assessing health research utilisation follow identification of the purposes of such assessments. Our conclusion is that research utilisation can be better understood, and enhanced, by developing assessment methods informed by conceptual analysis and review of previous studies.

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          Most cited references 139

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          The Many Meanings of Research Utilization

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            Reforming the health sector in developing countries: the central role of policy analysis

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              Reforming the health sector in developing countries: the central role of policy analysis.

               John Walt,  L Gilson (1994)
              Policy analysis is an established discipline in the industrialized world, yet its application to developing countries has been limited. The health sector in particular appears to have been neglected. This is surprising because there is a well recognized crisis in health systems, and prescriptions abound of what health policy reforms countries should introduce. However, little attention has been paid to how countries should carry out reforms, much less who is likely to favour or resist such policies. This paper argues that much health policy wrongly focuses attention on the content of reform, and neglects the actors involved in policy reform (at the international, national sub-national levels), the processes contingent on developing and implementing change and the context within which policy is developed. Focus on policy content diverts attention from understanding the processes which explain why desired policy outcomes fail to emerge. The paper is organized in 4 sections. The first sets the scene, demonstrating how the shift from consensus to conflict in health policy established the need for a greater emphasis on policy analysis. The second section explores what is meant by policy analysis. The third investigates what other disciplines have written that help to develop a framework of analysis. And the final section suggests how policy analysis can be used not only to analyze the policy process, but also to plan.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Health Res Policy Syst
                Health Research Policy and Systems
                BioMed Central (London )
                1478-4505
                2003
                13 January 2003
                : 1
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Health Economics Research Group, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK
                [2 ]Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, World Health Organization, CH 1221, Geneva 27, Switzerland
                [3 ]Centre for the Evaluation of Public Policy, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK
                Article
                1478-4505-1-2
                10.1186/1478-4505-1-2
                151555
                12646071
                0926a57f-c92a-4fe2-a375-2a6acddbdfea
                Copyright © 2003 Hanney et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.
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                Review

                Health & Social care

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