Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature

Fixsen, D.L., Naoom, S.F., Blase, K.A., Friedman, R.M., and Wallace, F. (2005). Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature. University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, The National Implementation Research Network.

This document, FMHI Publication #231, helps inform the process of implementing evidence-based practices, emerging best practices, and other service innovations. Below are two excerpts from the document:

"The purpose of this monograph is to describe the results of a far-reaching review of the implementation literature. There is broad agreement that implementation is a decidedly complex endeavor, more complex than the policies, programs, procedures, techniques, or technologies that are the subject of the implementation efforts. Every aspect of implementation is fraught with difficulty, from system transformation to changing service provider behavior and restructuring organizational contexts" (pg 2-3).

"What is 'implementation?' For the purposes of this review, implementation is defined as a specified set of activities designed to put into practice and activity or program of known dimensions. According to this definition, implementation processes are purposeful and are described in sufficient detail such that independent observers can detect the presence and strength of the 'specific set of activities' related to implementation. In addition, the activity or program being implemented is described in sufficient detail so that independent observers can detect its presence and strength. As noted earlier, when thinking about implementation the observer must be aware of two sets of activities (intervention-level activity and implementation-level activity) and two sets of outcomes (intervention outcomes and implementation outcomes)" (pg 5).

Access this resource on University of South Florida’s website