What does it mean to be pragmatic? Pragmatic methods, measures, and models to facilitate research translation

Health Educ Behav. 2013 Jun;40(3):257-65. doi: 10.1177/1090198113486805.


Background: One of the reasons for the slow and uncertain translation of research into practice is likely due to the emphasis in science on explanatory models and efficacy designs rather than more pragmatic approaches.

Methods: Following a brief definition of what constitutes a pragmatic approach, I provide examples of pragmatic methods, measures, and models and how they have been applied.

Results: Descriptions are provided of pragmatic trials and related designs, practical measures including patient-reported items for the electronic health record, and the Evidence Integration Triangle and RE-AIM practical models, each of which can help increase the relevance of research to policy makers, practitioners, and patients/consumers.

Conclusions: By focusing on the perspective of stakeholders and the context for application of scientific findings, pragmatic approaches can accelerate the integration of research, policy, and practice. Progress has been made, especially in pragmatic trials but even more opportunities remain.

Keywords: evaluation; implementation; measurement; pragmatic trial; research design; theory.

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*
  • United States