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Advancing the science of health research capacity strengthening in low-income and middle-income countries: a scoping review of the published literature, 2000–2016

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Dean, Laura ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4910-9707, Gregorius, Stefanie, Bates, Imelda ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0862-8199 and Pulford, Justin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4756-8480 (2017) 'Advancing the science of health research capacity strengthening in low-income and middle-income countries: a scoping review of the published literature, 2000–2016'. BMJ Open, Vol 7, Issue 12, e018718.

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Abstract

Objectives Substantial development assistance and research funding are invested in health research capacity strengthening (HRCS) interventions in low-income and middle-income countries, yet the effectiveness, impact and value for money of these investments are not well understood. A major constraint to evidence-informed HRCS intervention has been the disparate nature of the research effort to date. This review aims to map and critically analyse the existing HRCS effort to better understand the level, type, cohesion and conceptual sophistication of the current evidence base. The overall goal of this article is to advance the development of a unified, implementation-focused HRCS science. Methods We used a scoping review methodology to identify peer-reviewed HRCS literature within the following databases: PubMed, Global Health and Scopus. HRCS publications available in English between the period 2000 and 2016 were included. 1195 articles were retrieved of which 172 met the final inclusion criteria. A priori thematic analysis of all included articles was completed. Content analysis of identified HRCS definitions was conducted. Results The number of HRCS publications increased exponentially between 2000 and 2016. Most publications during this period were perspective, opinion or commentary pieces; however, original research publications were the primary publication type since 2013. Twenty-five different definitions of research capacity strengthening were identified, of which three aligned with current HRCS guidelines. Conclusions The review findings indicate that an HRCS research field with a focus on implementation science is emerging, although the conceptual and empirical bases are not yet sufficiently advanced to effectively inform HRCS programme planning. Consolidating an HRCS implementation science therefore presents as a viable option that may accelerate the development of a useful evidence base to inform HRCS programme planning. Identifying an agreed operational definition of HRCS, standardising HRCS-related terminology, developing a needs-based HRCS-specific research agenda and synthesising currently available evidence may be useful first steps.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > Health Services. Patients and Patient Advocacy > W 84.4 Quality of Health Care
W General Medicine. Health Professions > Health Services. Patients and Patient Advocacy > W 84 Health services. Delivery of health care
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Statistics. Surveys > WA 950 Theory or methods of medical statistics. Epidemiologic methods
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018718
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 13:35
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 08:23
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/7937

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