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Am J Prev Med. 2012 Sep;43(3):337-50. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.05.024.

Bridging research and practice: models for dissemination and implementation research.

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Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.



Theories and frameworks (hereafter called models) enhance dissemination and implementation (D&I) research by making the spread of evidence-based interventions more likely. This work organizes and synthesizes these models by (1) developing an inventory of models used in D&I research; (2) synthesizing this information; and (3) providing guidance on how to select a model to inform study design and execution.


This review began with commonly cited models and model developers and used snowball sampling to collect models developed in any year from journal articles, presentations, and books. All models were analyzed and categorized in 2011 based on three author-defined variables: construct flexibility, focus on dissemination and/or implementation activities (D/I), and the socioecologic framework (SEF) level. Five-point scales were used to rate construct flexibility from broad to operational and D/I activities from dissemination-focused to implementation-focused. All SEF levels (system, community, organization, and individual) applicable to a model were also extracted. Models that addressed policy activities were noted.


Sixty-one models were included in this review. Each of the five categories in the construct flexibility and D/I scales had at least four models. Models were distributed across all levels of the SEF; the fewest models (n=8) addressed policy activities. To assist researchers in selecting and utilizing a model throughout the research process, the authors present and explain examples of how models have been used.


These findings may enable researchers to better identify and select models to inform their D&I work.

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