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How to Achieve High-Quality Implementation: Conceptual Frameworks and Research Bibliography

by National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness on May 31, 2013
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The resources (primarily journal articles) below provide in-depth information about components of high-quality implementation based on research and other literature (e.g., theory, conceptual frameworks)

Much of the research about effective implementation and TA is from the field of public health.  Thus, many of the resources on this list use the term “prevention.”  The resources themselves are still very relevant to implementation and TA in educational settings.


Wandersman, A., Duffy, J., Flaspohler, P., Noonan, R., Lubell, K., Stillman, L., Blachman, M., et al. (2008). Bridging the gap between prevention research and practice: the interactive systems framework for dissemination and implementation. American journal of community psychology, 41(3-4), 171–81.
Conceptual framework that describes how three systems must work together in order to build the individual and organizational capacity needed to carry out an intervention. The systems are 1) knowledge and translation system, 2) support system (i.e., TA), and 3) delivery system (the people/agencies actually carrying out the intervention). 

Wandersman, A., Chien, V. H., & Katz, J. (2012). Toward an Evidence-Based System for Innovation Support for Implementing Innovations with Quality: Tools, Training, Technical Assistance, and Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement. American journal of community psychology
Describes the steps needed to achieve outcomes: a) conduct needs assessment, b) set goals, c) consider best/promising practices, d) assess fit, e) address capacity issues, f) develop a plan, g) implement plan and conduct process evaluation, h) conduct outcome evaluation, i) engage in continuous quality improvement, and j) address sustainability issues. Reviews relevant research that supports these steps.

Flaspohler, P., Duffy, J., Wandersman, A., Stillman, L., & Maras, M. a. (2008). Unpacking prevention capacity: an intersection of research-to-practice models and community-centered models. American journal of community psychology, 41(3-4), 182–96.
A whole entire article that is all about capacity! Provides a taxonomy of capacity by level (individual, organizational, and community) and type (general and  innovation specific).

Fixsen, D. L., Blase, K. a., Naoom, S. F., & Wallace, F. (2009). Core Implementation Components. Research on Social Work Practice, 19(5), 531–540.
Similar to Wandersman, Chien, & Katz (2012), above, this article looks at things that need to be in place in order for implementation to be successful.  I this case, though, rather than steps, it reviews key components of implementation: a) staff selection, b) preservice and inservice training, c)ongoing consultation & training, d) assessing staff performance, e) decision-support data systems, f) administrative support, and g) systems interventions (strategies to work with external systems to ensure the availability of the financial, organizational, and human resources required to support the work of practitioners).  Also covers stages of implementation.

Fixsen, Dean L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, K. A., Friedman, R. M., & Wallace, F. (2005). Implementation research: A synthesis of the literature. Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, The National Implementation Research Network (FMHI Publication #231). Available at:  This extensive literature review and synthesis is the basis for the article directly above (Fixsen, et al., 2009)

SISEP Website
SISEP stands for State Implementation and Scaling-Up of Evidence-Based Practices. This is Dean Fixsen's most current implementation project.  The site includes a number of resources.

Meyers, D. C., Durlak, J. a, & Wandersman, A. (2012). The Quality Implementation Framework: A Synthesis of Critical Steps in the Implementation Process. American journal of community psychology.
Another research- and theory-based framework that describes critical steps of implementation.  There are 14 steps that take place within the following four phases: a) Initial Considerations Regarding the Host Setting, b) Creating a Structure for Implementation, c) Ongoing Structure Once Implementation Begins, and d) Improving Future Applications (i.e., learning from experience).

Domitrovich, C. E., Bradshaw, C. P., Poduska, J. M., Hoagwood, K., Buckley, J. a., Olin, S., Romanelli, L. H., et al. (2008). Maximizing the Implementation Quality of Evidence-Based Preventive Interventions in Schools: A Conceptual Framework. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 1(3), 6–28.
This model describes characteristics that contribute to high-quality implementation according to levels: a) macro level (e.g., policies, financing, partnerships), b) school level (e.g., resources, decision structure, administrative leadership, and c) individual level (e.g., professional characteristics, attitudes). 

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