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1.  A systematic review of the use of theory in the design of guideline dissemination and implementation strategies and interpretation of the results of rigorous evaluations 
Background
There is growing interest in the use of cognitive, behavioural, and organisational theories in implementation research. However, the extent of use of theory in implementation research is uncertain.
Methods
We conducted a systematic review of use of theory in 235 rigorous evaluations of guideline dissemination and implementation studies published between 1966 and 1998. Use of theory was classified according to type of use (explicitly theory based, some conceptual basis, and theoretical construct used) and stage of use (choice/design of intervention, process/mediators/moderators, and post hoc/explanation).
Results
Fifty-three of 235 studies (22.5%) were judged to have employed theories, including 14 studies that explicitly used theory. The majority of studies (n = 42) used only one theory; the maximum number of theories employed by any study was three. Twenty-five different theories were used. A small number of theories accounted for the majority of theory use including PRECEDE (Predisposing, Reinforcing, and Enabling Constructs in Educational Diagnosis and Evaluation), diffusion of innovations, information overload and social marketing (academic detailing).
Conclusions
There was poor justification of choice of intervention and use of theory in implementation research in the identified studies until at least 1998. Future research should explicitly identify the justification for the interventions. Greater use of explicit theory to understand barriers, design interventions, and explore mediating pathways and moderators is needed to advance the science of implementation research.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-14
PMCID: PMC2832624  PMID: 20181130
2.  PRIME – PRocess modelling in ImpleMEntation research: selecting a theoretical basis for interventions to change clinical practice 
Background
Biomedical research constantly produces new findings but these are not routinely translated into health care practice. One way to address this problem is to develop effective interventions to translate research findings into practice. Currently a range of empirical interventions are available and systematic reviews of these have demonstrated that there is no single best intervention. This evidence base is difficult to use in routine settings because it cannot identify which intervention is most likely to be effective (or cost effective) in a particular situation. We need to establish a scientific rationale for interventions. As clinical practice is a form of human behaviour, theories of human behaviour that have proved useful in other similar settings may provide a basis for developing a scientific rationale for the choice of interventions to translate research findings into clinical practice.
The objectives of the study are: to amplify and populate scientifically validated theories of behaviour with evidence from the experience of health professionals; to use this as a basis for developing predictive questionnaires using replicable methods; to identify which elements of the questionnaire (i.e., which theoretical constructs) predict clinical practice and distinguish between evidence compliant and non-compliant practice; and on the basis of these results, to identify variables (based on theoretical constructs) that might be prime targets for behaviour change interventions.
Methods
We will develop postal questionnaires measuring two motivational, three action and one stage theory to explore five behaviours with 800 general medical and 600 general dental practitioners. We will collect data on performance for each of the behaviours. The relationships between predictor variables (theoretical constructs) and outcome measures (data on performance) in each survey will be assessed using multiple regression analysis and structural equation modelling. In the final phase of the project, the findings from all surveys will be analysed simultaneously adopting a random effects approach to investigate whether the relationships between predictor variables and outcome measures are modified by behaviour, professional group or geographical location.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-3-22
PMCID: PMC317340  PMID: 14683530

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