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Does the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT) continue to influence health policy and/or practice?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Jaya Prasad Tripathy, Ajay MV Kumar, Nathalie Guillerm, Selma Dar Berger, Karen Bissell, Anthony Reid, Rony Zachariah, Andrew Ramsay, Anthony D Harries

School/Research organisations


Background: The Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT) is a successful model of integrated operational research and capacity building with about 90% of participants completing the training and publishing in scientific journals.

Objective: The study aims at assessing the influence of research papers from six SORT IT courses conducted between April 2014 and January 2015 on policy and/or practice.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional mixed-method study involving e-mail based, self-administered questionnaires sent to course participants coupled with telephone/Skype/in-person responses from participants, senior facilitators and local co-authors of course papers. A descriptive content analysis was performed to generate themes.

Results: Of 71 participants, 67 (94%) completed the course. A total of 67 papers (original research) were submitted for publication, of which 61 (91%) were published or were in press at the censor date (31 December 2016). Among the 67 eligible participants, 65 (97%) responded to the questionnaire. Of the latter, 43 (66%) research papers were self-reported to have contributed to a change in policy and/or practice by the course participants: 38 to a change in government policy or practice (26 at the national level, six at the subnational level and six at the local/hospital level); four to a change in organisational policy or practice; and one study fostered global policy development.

Conclusion: Nearly two-thirds of SORT IT course papers contributed to a change in policy and/or practice as reported by the participants. Identifying the actual linkage of research to policy/practice change requires more robust methodology, in-depth assessment and independent validation of the reported change with all concerned stakeholders.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Early online date6 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Operational research, Policy, The Union, Médecins Sans Frontières;, TDR, SORT IT

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