Operational and implementation research


Ensuring the right tools for the right people at the right time - this is what operational research (OR) and implementation research (IR) supports. The goal is to strengthen health services and improve healthcare delivery in disease endemic countries.

Research should not stop after providing the proof of principle for a product, or after demonstrating its effectiveness in selected situations; it has an additional critical role to play in helping solve major implementation problems. Experience has shown that implementation research can make a major difference and help ensure that proven control products have the intended health impact. Examples are the development of community-directed treatment for onchocerciasis, and development of community-based care for uncomplicated malaria.

TDR related research

TDR’s main activities currently focus on two areas – an operational research process focused on national needs, and implementation research training to increase the capacity of professionals from different disciplines in low- and middle-income countries to conduct relevant research.

SORT IT is a collection of multi-phase programmes developed by TDR together with the World Health Organization, The Union and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF). Programmes aim to improve research capacity while ensuring research is geared towards national needs. Policy-makers are involved from the beginning to improve research dissemination and subsequent research uptake into policy and practice.

A manual outlining a standard process that helps identify system bottlenecks and relevant stakeholders who can work together to address the bottlenecks by formulating appropriate research questions, conducting research and developing a plan for implementing the study results.

This is being developed for publication in early 2017. The value and utility of this type of research will be introduced through case studies to be presented and interpreted by experienced public health researchers, practitioners and academics.

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Featured publications

All TDR publications on operational and implementation research