Operations research (OR) can only be judged successful if results are utilized for making decisions to strengthen RH/FP policies and service delivery. How can this best be achieved? How can both process and impact of OR be measured? Drawing from ten years of FRONTIERS in Reproductive Health OR experience, a number of key principles for promoting research utilization, illustrated with documented examples, are presented here. One important first step is clarifying terms used, almost interchangeably, in research utilization, as it incorporates a range of ways in which research can be used for making decisions to strengthen RH/FP policies and programs. Achieving, and measuring, utilization of research depends in part on what type of utilization is envisioned, and so it is critical that the specific type of needs be specified before research begins. Maximizing Utilization of Research is one of eight Legacy Papers synthesizing major lessons learned through research conducted under the FRONTIERS program. The full set of Legacy Papers includes: Capacity Building, Family Planning, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, Gender, Integration of Services, Sustainability of Services, Utilization of Research Findings, and Youth Reproductive Health.
"Maximizing utilization of research," FRONTIERS Legacy Themes. Washington, DC: Population Council, 2009.
Frontiers in Reproductive Health