Getting results used: Evidence from reproductive health programmatic research in Guatemala

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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This article reviews 44 operations research projects aiming to improve reproductive health services in Guatemala, conducted by the Population Council from 1988 to 2001. It documents the experience of the research programme, traces the extent to which research results are identifiable in existing programmes, and analyses factors influencing utilization. Utilization of research results occurs as a gradual process of information sharing, where researchers influence decision-makers through a continual stream of information rather than a single set of findings. Utilization depends on leadership, collaborative planning and implementation, close monitoring, and feasible research designs, among other factors. To influence policy formulation, organizations should form enduring links among institutions and develop critical research skills among personnel who collaborate with or manage service programmes. To understand how operations research affects policy and programme change, one must consider not just individual projects, but rather the synergistic impact of multiple projects on a broad range of themes over time. Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine