Implementation research is a dynamic process that often requires adaptation, flexibility and innovation during the execution of the project. As we have seen, the process of continuous monitoring may bring changes to the IR project and the IR team should be prepared to make these adjustments as they arise. For example, health personnel may decide to implement a solution identified through the IR project in the middle of the research process, once it has been shown to be effective. Or they may decide that the modification proposed to the health intervention in the IR project needs to be amended. It is crucial that such changes or adaptations to the research process are well documented, coordinated and monitored to ensure credibility and fidelity.

The following questions should underpin the documentation the team carries out:

  • What is happening?
  • Why is it happening this way?
  • Is this expected?

The IR team must be objective when documenting processes and report both the negative and positive experiences. This will facilitate learning and evidence to support previously anecdotal reports. Documentation of the various processes, adaptations, revisions and experiences that occurred and impacted the research will ensure that programme planners and policy-makers do not only receive the results of the study but understand the process by which the results were obtained.

TDR Implementation research toolkit(Second edition)

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