Applied research: building the evidence base for health sector development

Colin Thunhurst, S. Randall

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Background: Over recent years, there has been a growth of interest in applied research. With the continuing explosion in academically focused peer-reviewed publishing, researchers have been forced to reconsider the relevance of their work and its relationship to key health sector developments. Contents: In this article, we consider the nature of applied research—how does it differ from pure research, translational research, action research and/or monitoring and evaluation? We present a case study example drawn from a currently active area of applied research. We consider the fundamental questions that have to be considered by applied researchers: How can they retain methodological rigour?; Does he who pays the piper unduly call the tune?; Is the ‘opportunism’ of applied research compatible with ethical considerations?; Is an academic environment the most appropriate one in which to undertake applied research? Conclusions: The need for applied research has never been more pressing; yet executing it has never been more problematic. Notwithstanding the methodological and practical problems encountered, we argue that it plays a vital role in the development of health systems and of health systems researchers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)590-596
    JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2016

    Bibliographical note

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    • Applied research
    • Community matrons
    • Health sector development
    • Methodology
    • Research methods


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