National Cancer Institute
Implementation Science
    Integrating Science, Practice, and Policy

About Implementation Science


Diffusion-Dissemination-Implementation Continuum

Discovery/ Development  arrow  Delivery


1. Research diffusion
…the passive process by which a growing body of information about an intervention, product, or technology is initially absorbed and acted upon by a small body of highly motivated recipients (Lomas, 1993).

2. Diffusion research
…centers on the conditions which increase or decrease the likelihood that a new idea, product, or practice will be adopted by members of a given culture (Rogers, 1995).


1. Research dissemination
…active process through which the information needs (pull) of target groups working in specific contexts (capacity) are accessed, and information is "tailored" to increase awareness of, acceptance of, and use of the lessons learned from science (Kerner, 2007).

2. Dissemination research
…the study of processes and variables that determine and/or influence the adoption of knowledge, interventions or practice by various stakeholders (Lomas, 1997).


1. Research implementation
…the utilization of strategies or approaches to introduce or modify evidence-based interventions within specific settings. This involves the identification of and assistance in overcoming barriers to, the application of new knowledge obtained from a disseminated message or program (Lomas, 1993).

2. Implementation research
…research that supports the movement of evidence-based interventions and approaches from the experimental, controlled environment into the actual delivery contexts where the programs, tools, and guidelines will be utilized, promoted, and integrated into the existing operational culture (Rubenstein & Pugh, 2006).

Discovery/ Development  arrow  Delivery


Kerner, J. (2007, February). Translating Research into Policy and Practice: Who’s Influencing Whom? Presentation at the Annual National Health Policy Conference. Washington, DC.

Lomas, J. (1993). Diffusion, dissemination, and implementation: who should do what? Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, 703, 226-235; discussion 235-227.

Lomas, J. (1997). Improving Research and Uptake in the Health Sector: Beyond the Sound of One Hand Clapping. Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis. Policy Commentary, C97-1.

Rogers, E. (1995). Diffusion of Innovations (Fourth ed.). New York: The Free Press.

Rubenstein, L. V., & Pugh, J. (2006). Strategies for promoting organizational and practice change by advancing implementation research. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21 Suppl 2, S58-64.

Last Updated: April 28, 2011

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