‘How to’ guide on research and development: the embedded approach

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COMDIS-HSD aims to develop feasible and effective health service delivery strategies for underserved populations in LMICs. The purpose of this guide is to describe COMDIS-HSD’s embedded approach to health research and service development, to enable it to be replicated by COMDIS-HSD partners, and other researchers.

Operational research is best prioritised, designed, conducted and replicated when it is embedded within Ministry of Health and national programmes. COMDIS-HSD partners design, conduct and disseminate research projects embedded within the Ministry of Health services in their country. The approach aims to develop research questions from the perspective of the users and decision makers, and then conduct research, service development and evaluation in their sites. This multi-stage research development approach, supported by a strong research uptake strategy, ensures the research will be scaled-up in country and beyond. The research is commonly linked together with the development of guidelines and tools. These include details of the intervention, which are developed, evaluated and revised as part of the research. This approach to research and development, supported by communication tools and research uptake activity, maximizes uptake into policy and practice nationally and internationally.

The four stages of the approach described in this guide are:

  1. Design and develop service delivery package
  2. Pre-test and pilot the package
  3. Implement and evaluate the intervention
  4. Support policy and practice change nationally and internationally
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