, Volume 21, Issue 2 Supplement, pp S1-S8

The role of formative evaluation in implementation research and the QUERI experience

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This article describes the importance and role of 4 stages of formative evaluation in our growing understanding of how to implement research findings into practice in order to improve the quality of clinical care. It reviews limitations of traditional approaches to implementation research and presents a rationale for new thinking and use of new methods. Developmental, implementation-focused, progress-focused, and interpretive evaluations are then defined and illustrated with examples from Veterans Health Administration Quality Enhancement Research Initiative projects. This article also provides methodologic details and highlights challenges encountered in actualizing formative evaluation within implementation research.

An earlier version of this article was included in materials to support the State of the Art of Implementation Conference. The conference was conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development Service, and was held in Washington, DC, from August 30 to September 1 2004.
The work reported here was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development Service. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.