Impact and measuring project results

This is the section of your IR proposal that addresses measures to ensure quality standards in your research project. Its content is summarized in Table 7. Specifically, your proposal must provide information on the:

  • monitoring and evaluation plan for your IR project;
  • capacity-building plan, including mentoring;
  • dissemination plan.

Considerable effort must be made to ensure that your proposal clearly demonstrates the impact our research findings will have on the health and/or health care of the communities/populations concerned, the health system, policy-making, and research communities. For example, how will your proposal demonstrate that your research team has:

  • Acknowledged, monitored and planned for competing priorities, limited logistic capacity, a lack of political will, and/or inadequate infrastructure and resources – all of which could affect health care packages from being delivered to those who need them the most?
  • Planned for developing and maintaining capacity building in your IR project to facilitate the adoption of evidence-based health interventions in the country and other similar settings/developing countries?
  • Demonstrated that you will disseminate your research findings to ensure your project will generate research evidence to inform policy and programme implementation?

When developing a typical research/academic proposal, the intent is to generate new knowledge and ideas. Conversely, when developing an IR proposal, the intent is to generate research evidence to inform policy and programme implementation. Despite the growing knowledge base on evidence- based practices in health care, there is a large gap between what is known as a result of research and what is consistently implemented in practice. Why is there such a wide gap between what we know and what we do? The fact that it can take years or even decades for research findings, best practices and guidelines to be implemented into health care workers’ daily practice is one of the stimuli behind the IR ‘movement.’

Utilization of research results is the core purpose of IR. Translating evidence into health care practice requires a monitoring and evaluation process to ensure quality and improve health outcomes. Your proposal should demonstrate that your project will facilitate the adoption and integration of evidence-based health interventions and change practice patterns, particularly in developing countries. In order to be convincing, your proposal should demonstrate that you have considered the complexity of the situation and environments where the research will take place.

The different aspects relating to monitoring and evaluation, capacity building and dissemination plans that will help you in completing this section of the proposal are covered in other modules in this toolkit.

An important aspect of your proposal will be the plan for disseminating information from the project. Most funding agencies are interested in seeing how their financial support of your project will apply to other audiences. Therefore, your proposal should include a section on dissemination and also the kind of dissemination you plan to carry out, and where and to what audience you intend to disseminate your research findings. You should as much as possible aim to communicate the results and findings of your research to all the stakeholders engaged in the research effort with the most appropriate and relevant means.

The dissemination section of the IR proposal should include:

  • Educational or informal community presentations you propose to make during each year of the project (including workshops or training programs; information sessions; policy briefings; press conferences; slide shows etc.).
  • An estimate of the number of refereed and professional publications you intend to develop during each year of the project (including the names of journals you will submit to and professional journals, newsletters, printed hand-outs, policy reports and other publications intended);
  • The number and names of the academic and professional conferences you intend to attend each year.

It is often better to ‘under-promise and over-deliver’ in this regard. Proposals that make elaborate claims (especially without similar track records to support such a publication or dissemination record) tend to lose credibility with reviewers.

TDR Implementation research toolkit

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References