Reporting guidelines for implementation and operational research

Simon Hales, Ana Lesher-Trevino, Nathan Ford, Dermot Maher, Andrew Ramsay, Nhan Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


In public health, implementation research is done to improve access to interventions that have been shown to work but have not reached many of the people who could benefit from them. Researchers identify practical problems facing public health programmes and aim to find solutions that improve health outcomes. In operational research, routinely-collected programme data are used to uncover ways of delivering more effective, efficient and equitable health care. As implementation research can address many types of questions, many research designs may be appropriate. Existing reporting guidelines partially cover the methods used in implementation and operational research, so we ran a consultation through the World Health Organization (WHO), the Alliance for Health Policy & Systems Research (AHPSR) and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and developed guidelines to facilitate the funding, conduct, review and publishing of such studies. Our intention is to provide a practical reference for funders, researchers, policymakers, implementers, reviewers and editors working with implementation and operational research. This is an evolving field, so we plan to monitor the use of these guidelines and develop future versions as required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Global Health/economics
  • Guidelines as Topic/standards
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Research/economics
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination/methods
  • Operations Research
  • World Health Organization


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