Developing a checklist for research proposals to help describe health service interventions in UK research programmes: a mixed methods study. Dorling, H.; White, D.; Turner, S.; Campbell, K.; and Lamont, T. Health research policy and systems / BioMed Central, 12(1):12, 3, 2014.
abstract   bibtex   
BACKGROUND: One of the most common reasons for rejecting research proposals in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme is the failure to adequately specify the intervention or context in research proposals. Examples of failed research proposals include projects to assess integrated care models, use of generic caseworkers, or new specialist nurse services. These are all important service developments which need evaluation, but the lack of clarity about the intervention and context prevented these research proposals from obtaining funding. The purpose of the research presented herein was to develop a checklist, with key service intervention and contextual features, for use by applicants to the NIHR HS&DR Programme to potentially enhance the quality of research proposals. METHODS: The study used mixed methods to identify the need for and develop and test a checklist. Firstly, this included assessing existing checklists in peer-reviewed literature relevant to organisational health research. Building on existing work, a new checklist was piloted. Two reviewers used a small sample (n = 16) of research proposals to independently assess the relevance of the checklist to the proposal and the degree of overlap or gaps between the constructs. The next two stages externally validated the revised checklist by collecting qualitative feedback from researchers and experts in the field. RESULTS: The initial checklist was developed from existing checklists which included domains of intervention and context. The constructs and background to each were developed through review of existing literature. Eight researchers provided feedback on the checklist, which was generally positive. This iterative process resulted in changes to the checklist, collapsing two constructs and providing more prompts for others; the final checklist includes six constructs. CONCLUSIONS: Features relating to intervention and context should be well described to increase the quality of research proposals and enhance the chances of the research receiving funding. Existing checklists do not have enough focus on areas relevant to research proposals in complex health service interventions, such as workforce. A formative checklist has been developed, and tested by end users. Tentative findings suggest usefulness and acceptability of such a tool but further work is needed for full validation.
@article{
 title = {Developing a checklist for research proposals to help describe health service interventions in UK research programmes: a mixed methods study},
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 year = {2014},
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 city = {National Institute for Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), University of Southampton, Alpha House, Enterprise Road, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK. h.dorling@soton.ac.uk.},
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 notes = {ID: 68744; JID: 101170481; 2013/10/03 [received]; 2014/02/20 [accepted]; 2014/03/04 [aheadofprint]; epublish},
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 abstract = {BACKGROUND: One of the most common reasons for rejecting research proposals in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme is the failure to adequately specify the intervention or context in research proposals. Examples of failed research proposals include projects to assess integrated care models, use of generic caseworkers, or new specialist nurse services. These are all important service developments which need evaluation, but the lack of clarity about the intervention and context prevented these research proposals from obtaining funding. The purpose of the research presented herein was to develop a checklist, with key service intervention and contextual features, for use by applicants to the NIHR HS&DR Programme to potentially enhance the quality of research proposals. METHODS: The study used mixed methods to identify the need for and develop and test a checklist. Firstly, this included assessing existing checklists in peer-reviewed literature relevant to organisational health research. Building on existing work, a new checklist was piloted. Two reviewers used a small sample (n = 16) of research proposals to independently assess the relevance of the checklist to the proposal and the degree of overlap or gaps between the constructs. The next two stages externally validated the revised checklist by collecting qualitative feedback from researchers and experts in the field. RESULTS: The initial checklist was developed from existing checklists which included domains of intervention and context. The constructs and background to each were developed through review of existing literature. Eight researchers provided feedback on the checklist, which was generally positive. This iterative process resulted in changes to the checklist, collapsing two constructs and providing more prompts for others; the final checklist includes six constructs. CONCLUSIONS: Features relating to intervention and context should be well described to increase the quality of research proposals and enhance the chances of the research receiving funding. Existing checklists do not have enough focus on areas relevant to research proposals in complex health service interventions, such as workforce. A formative checklist has been developed, and tested by end users. Tentative findings suggest usefulness and acceptability of such a tool but further work is needed for full validation.},
 bibtype = {article},
 author = {Dorling, H and White, D and Turner, S and Campbell, K and Lamont, T},
 journal = {Health research policy and systems / BioMed Central},
 number = {1}
}
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