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Scoping implementation science for the beginner: Locating yourself on the “Subway line” of translational research

BioMed Central Medical Research Methodology June 28, 2019

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Research Areas

PAIR Center Research Team


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.


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)