Scoping implementation science for the beginner: locating yourself on the "subway line" of translational research

BMC Med Res Methodol. 2019 Jun 28;19(1):133. doi: 10.1186/s12874-019-0783-z.


Background: Beginners to the discipline of implementation science often struggle to determine whether their research questions "count" as implementation science.

Main text: In this paper, three implementation scientists share a heuristic tool to help investigators determine where their research questions fall in the translational research continuum. They use a "subway model" that envisions a journey to implementation research with stops along the way at efficacy and effectiveness research.

Conclusions: A series of structured questions about intervention efficacy, effectiveness, and implementation can help guide researchers to select research questions and appropriate study designs along the spectrum of translational research.

Keywords: Implementation science; Knowledge translation; Translational research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Heuristics
  • Humans
  • Implementation Science*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Research Design*
  • Research Personnel*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods*