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What is implementation?

Implementation science involves studying when and how research and research evidence is used for practical purposes, for example, to help create public policy or inform decisions. I am particularly interested in implementation and the use of research in public schools, where decisions are made every day about what programs and practices to use. Together with Dr. Jennifer Watling Neal, I co-direct the Michigan School Program Information (MiSPI) project, which investigates how public school educators find information through their social networks and use it to make decisions. For an overview of the MiSPI project, check out this short video.

Research on implementation

From interviews and surveys with educators throughout the State of Michigan, the MiSPI project has found that there is a communication gap between the people who do research on school programs (researchers) and the people who use school programs (educators). Many Michigan educators report having no one to ask for information about school programs, and even those that do rarely get connected to high-quality research. But, some educators can use their existing networks to learn about research on programs by turning to "brokers" that bridge between the researcher and educator groups. Educators have the best chance of finding brokers and learning about research when they talk with others who are different from themselves...educators in a different school, people who aren't educators, etc. The MiSPI project is now working on ways to use social capital to help educators find, understand, and implement research.

Papers about implementation

for more, please visit this page

Neal, J. W., Neal, Z.P., Mills, K. J., Lawlor, J. A., & McAlindon, K. (2019). What types of brokerage bridge the research-practice gap? The case of public school educators. Social Networks, 59, 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2019.05.006  [pre-print]

Neal, J. W. & Neal, Z. P. (2019). Implementation capital: merging frameworks of implementation outcomes and social capital to support the use of evidence-based practices. Implementation Science, 14, 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-019-0860-z

Neal, J. W., Neal, Z. P., Kornbluh, M., Mills, K., & Lawlor, J. (2015). Brokering the research-practice gap: A typology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 56, 422-435. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-015-9745-8  [pre-print]

Neal, Z. P., Neal, J. W., Lawlor, J., & Mills, K. (2015). Small worlds or worlds apart? Using network theory to understand the research-practice gap. Psychosocial Interventions, 24, 177-184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psi.2015.07.006

Collaborators on implementation

My work on implementation has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (R21 MH100238-01A1), the William T. Grant Foundation (#182241 & #183010), and the Spencer Foundation (#201900052). It represents a collaboration with many talented colleagues, including:

Dr. Mariah Kornbluh, University of South Carolina

Dr. Jennifer Lawlor, University of Michigan

Dr. Kathryn McAlindon, Michigan State University

Dr. Kristen Mills, Ohio State University

Dr. Jennifer Watling Neal, Michigan State University

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