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      Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks

      research-article
      Implementation Science : IS
      BioMed Central
      Theory, Model, Framework, Evaluation, Context

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          Abstract

          Background

          Implementation science has progressed towards increased use of theoretical approaches to provide better understanding and explanation of how and why implementation succeeds or fails. The aim of this article is to propose a taxonomy that distinguishes between different categories of theories, models and frameworks in implementation science, to facilitate appropriate selection and application of relevant approaches in implementation research and practice and to foster cross-disciplinary dialogue among implementation researchers.

          Discussion

          Theoretical approaches used in implementation science have three overarching aims: describing and/or guiding the process of translating research into practice (process models); understanding and/or explaining what influences implementation outcomes (determinant frameworks, classic theories, implementation theories); and evaluating implementation (evaluation frameworks).

          Summary

          This article proposes five categories of theoretical approaches to achieve three overarching aims. These categories are not always recognized as separate types of approaches in the literature. While there is overlap between some of the theories, models and frameworks, awareness of the differences is important to facilitate the selection of relevant approaches. Most determinant frameworks provide limited “how-to” support for carrying out implementation endeavours since the determinants usually are too generic to provide sufficient detail for guiding an implementation process. And while the relevance of addressing barriers and enablers to translating research into practice is mentioned in many process models, these models do not identify or systematically structure specific determinants associated with implementation success. Furthermore, process models recognize a temporal sequence of implementation endeavours, whereas determinant frameworks do not explicitly take a process perspective of implementation.

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          Most cited references127

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          Integration of the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious.

          M Epstein (1994)
          Cognitive-experiential self-theory integrates the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious by assuming the existence of two parallel, interacting modes of information processing: a rational system and an emotionally driven experiential system. Support for the theory is provided by the convergence of a wide variety of theoretical positions on two similar processing modes; by real-life phenomena--such as conflicts between the heart and the head; the appeal of concrete, imagistic, and narrative representations; superstitious thinking; and the ubiquity of religion throughout recorded history--and by laboratory research, including the prediction of new phenomena in heuristic reasoning.
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            Evaluating the successful implementation of evidence into practice using the PARiHS framework: theoretical and practical challenges

            Background The PARiHS framework (Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services) has proved to be a useful practical and conceptual heuristic for many researchers and practitioners in framing their research or knowledge translation endeavours. However, as a conceptual framework it still remains untested and therefore its contribution to the overall development and testing of theory in the field of implementation science is largely unquantified. Discussion This being the case, the paper provides an integrated summary of our conceptual and theoretical thinking so far and introduces a typology (derived from social policy analysis) used to distinguish between the terms conceptual framework, theory and model – important definitional and conceptual issues in trying to refine theoretical and methodological approaches to knowledge translation. Secondly, the paper describes the next phase of our work, in particular concentrating on the conceptual thinking and mapping that has led to the generation of the hypothesis that the PARiHS framework is best utilised as a two-stage process: as a preliminary (diagnostic and evaluative) measure of the elements and sub-elements of evidence (E) and context (C), and then using the aggregated data from these measures to determine the most appropriate facilitation method. The exact nature of the intervention is thus determined by the specific actors in the specific context at a specific time and place. In the process of refining this next phase of our work, we have had to consider the wider issues around the use of theories to inform and shape our research activity; the ongoing challenges of developing robust and sensitive measures; facilitation as an intervention for getting research into practice; and finally to note how the current debates around evidence into practice are adopting wider notions that fit innovations more generally. Summary The paper concludes by suggesting that the future direction of the work on the PARiHS framework is to develop a two-stage diagnostic and evaluative approach, where the intervention is shaped and moulded by the information gathered about the specific situation and from participating stakeholders. In order to expedite the generation of new evidence and testing of emerging theories, we suggest the formation of an international research implementation science collaborative that can systematically collect and analyse experiences of using and testing the PARiHS framework and similar conceptual and theoretical approaches. We also recommend further refinement of the definitions around conceptual framework, theory, and model, suggesting a wider discussion that embraces multiple epistemological and ontological perspectives.
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              Welcome to Implementation Science

              Implementation research is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care. This relatively new field includes the study of influences on healthcare professional and organisational behaviour. Implementation Science will encompass all aspects of research in this field, in clinical, community and policy contexts. This online journal will provide a unique platform for this type of research and will publish a broad range of articles – study protocols, debate, theoretical and conceptual articles, rigorous evaluations of the process of change, and articles on methodology and rigorously developed tools – that will enhance the development and refinement of implementation research. No one discipline, research design, or paradigm will be favoured. Implementation Science looks forward to receiving manuscripts that facilitate the continued development of the field, and contribute to healthcare policy and practice.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                per.nilsen@liu.se
                Journal
                Implement Sci
                Implement Sci
                Implementation Science : IS
                BioMed Central (London )
                1748-5908
                21 April 2015
                21 April 2015
                2015
                : 10
                : 53
                Affiliations
                Division of Community Medicine, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
                Article
                242
                10.1186/s13012-015-0242-0
                4406164
                25895742
                1739240b-e851-4239-9966-21e0ca3cb5e3
                © Nilsen.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                History
                : 2 November 2014
                : 7 April 2015
                Categories
                Debate
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                © The Author(s) 2015

                Medicine
                theory,model,framework,evaluation,context
                Medicine
                theory, model, framework, evaluation, context

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