Describing the impact of health services and policy research.

Kuruvilla, S; Mays, N; Walt, G; (2007) Describing the impact of health services and policy research. Journal of health services research & policy, 12 Suppl 1. pp. 23-31. ISSN 1355-8196

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OBJECTIVES: In an essentially applied area of research, there are particular pressures on health services and policy researchers to describe the impact of their work. However, specialized research impact assessments often require skills and resources beyond those available to individual researchers, and ad hoc accounts impose a considerable burden to generate. Further, these idiosyncratic accounts may not facilitate comparative analysis to inform research management, practice and assessment. This paper describes an initial attempt to develop a methodical approach to identify and describe research impact. METHODS: A Research Impact Framework was developed, drawing on the literature and interviews with researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and was used to structure impact narratives of selected research projects. These narratives were based on semi-structured interviews with principal investigators and documentary analysis of the projects. RESULTS: Using the framework as a guide, researchers were relatively easily and methodically able to identify and present impacts of their work. Researchers' narratives contained verifiable evidence and highlighted a wide range of areas in which health services and policy research has impact. The standardized structure of the narratives also facilitated analysis across projects. Factors thought to positively influence the impact of research included researchers' continued involvement in research and policy networks, established track records in the field, and the ability to identify and use key influencing events, such as 'policy windows'. CONCLUSIONS: The framework helped develop research impact narratives and facilitated comparisons across projects, highlighting issues for research management and assessment.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 17411504


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