Implementation research training materials

Implementation research (IR) is the systematic approach to understanding and addressing barriers to effective and quality implementation of health interventions, strategies and policies. It is demand-driven, with research questions framed on the basis of needs identified by relevant stakeholders/implementers working together in the health system.

TDR provides a continuum of training materials on implementation research.

Massive open online course (MOOC) on implementation research (IR): infectious diseases of poverty

With the help of invited experts from regions around the globe, this is a step-by-step online training for public health researchers and decision-makers, disease control programme managers, academics and others that focuses on how to design and demonstrate robust IR projects on infectious diseases of poverty. Participants learn the core concepts of IR, including how to:

  • Identify the challenges of various health settings;
  • Assess the appropriateness of existing strategies;
  • Develop new interventions and strategies by working with communities and stakeholders;
  • Specify IR questions; and
  • Design rigorous research projects. This includes how to identify IR outcomes, evaluate effectiveness, and make plans to scale-up implementation in real life settings.

Implementation research toolkit

This toolkit provides deeper learning on implementation research, helping people learn a standard process that can lead to results that can be compared across regions and countries. It is designed to help identify system bottlenecks and the stakeholders to be involved in the process, formulate appropriate research questions, conduct the research and develop a plan for implementing the study results.


Training course on ethics in implementation research

TDR and WHO's Global Health Ethics team have jointly developed a training course for researchers and research ethics committees on the important ethical considerations in IR. The course comprises six interactive modules interspersed with activities including case studies, role-play and quizzes:

  • Module 1: Introduction to IR
  • Module 2: Ethical considerations in IR
  • Module 3: Ethical issues in planning IR
  • Module 4: Ethical issues in conducting IR
  • Module 5: Ethical issues post-IR
  • Module 6: In-depth ethical analysis of IR using case studies

Principles of Implementation Research (PIR) course

This provides an overview to implementation research. It serves as an introduction to fundamental terms, concepts, and principles of IR and their application. It explains the basic components of implementation research frameworks, as well as key constraints to implementation. Additionally, the course provides knowledge on common methods and conduct of IR, ethics and quality assurance in IR as well as skills for community engagement and stakeholder analysis. It also explores key research communication skills required for disseminating implementation research findings and scale up of intervention. This has been developed by the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana, with assistance from the network of the TDR supported Regional Training Centres.

The course covers five modules:

  • Module 1: Introduction to implementation research
  • Module 2: Methods in implementation research
  • Module 3: Ethics and quality assurance in implementation research
  • Module 4: Community and stakeholders engagement
  • Module 5: Communication, dissemination and scale-up

Available in 2019.


Guidance for publishing IR results

Implementation research utilises a range of different research designs, so existing reporting guidelines have only partially covered the need for guidance. TDR worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Alliance for Health Policy & Systems Research (AHPSR) to develop new reporting guidelines. They are designed to improve the quality of reports on these types of research, and in due course the quality of the research itself.