Turning Research into Action: The Decision-Linked Research Approach


For over twenty years, managers of health programs have relied on many types of research to help answer strategic and programmatic questions. Demographic surveys, rapid assessments, operations research, and sociological and economic studies contribute significantly to The Manager’s ability to formulate appropriate goals, determine strategies, and assess the achievement of program goals.

Such contributions are leading program managers to appreciate research as an important management tool. To use this tool effectively, managers must be able to systematically transform research results into decisions. They will need support from decision makers who understand the implications of research findings, and who are ready to advocate for action.

This issue of The Manager presents a process known as “decision-linked research,” the goal of which is to establish effective partnerships between researchers and decision makers so that the research findings can be transformed into programmatic actions. The issue focuses on how to formulate these partnerships, how to forge common interests between researchers and the users of research results, how to make research understandable to those who will be affected by the results, and finally, how to transform research results into actions aimed at improving policies, strategies, and programs.