Abstract

Objectives: To investigate researchers’ perceptions about the factors that influenced the policy and practice impacts (or lack of impact) of one of their own funded intervention research studies.

Design: Mixed method, cross-sectional study.

Setting: Intervention research conducted in Australia and funded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council between 2003 and 2007.

Participants: The chief investigators from 50 funded intervention research studies were interviewed to determine if their study had achieved policy and practice impacts, how and why these impacts had (or had not) occurred and the approach to dissemination they had employed.

Results: We found that statistically significant intervention effects and publication of results influenced whether there were policy and practice impacts, along with factors related to the nature of the intervention itself, the researchers’ experience and connections, their dissemination and translation efforts, and the postresearch context.

Conclusions: This study indicates that sophisticated approaches to intervention development, dissemination actions and translational efforts are actually widespread among experienced researches, and can achieve policy and practice impacts. However, it was the links between the intervention results, further dissemination actions by researchers and a variety of postresearch contextual factors that ultimately determined whether a study had policy and practice impacts. Given the complicated interplay between the various factors, there appears to be no simple formula for determining which intervention studies should be funded in order to achieve optimal policy and practice impacts.

Keywords

intervention research studies, impact, policy, practice

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