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October 2010Vol. 11, No. 8Defining Implementation

A special issue of last year's Research on Social Practice, Vol. 19(5), focused on the implementation of evidence-based practice in human services fields. Two articles in particular provide background on implementation and its components.

"What Is Implementation Research? Rationale, Concepts, and Practices," by Onil Bhattacharyya, Scott Reeves, and Merrick Zwarenstein, provides an overview of implementation research in the social sciences, exploring the gap between knowledge and practice, and discusses how to bring current practice closer to best practice.

"Core Implementation Components," by Dean Fixsen, Karen Blase, Sandra Naoom, and Frances Wallace, describes both the stages of implementation and the core components, arguing that the "missing link" between science and service is implementation.

The six stages of implementation include:

  • Exploration
  • Installation
  • Initial implementation
  • Full implementation
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability

The core components (or implementation drivers), which are discussed in more detail, include:

  • Staff selection
  • Preservice and in-service training
  • Ongoing coaching and consultation
  • Staff evaluation
  • Decision support data systems
  • Facilitative administrative support
  • Systems interventions

As described by the authors, the components are integrated with each other to influence staff behavior and organizational culture. They are also integrated with the stages so that it is easy to identify where implementation teams are in the implementation process (i.e., what stage) and what they are doing (e.g., what core component). 

The full articles are available for purchase on the Sage Journal website: