Producing useful research about quality improvement

John Øvretveit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Many quality improvement interventions such as educational programmes, hospital quality strategies, and quality evaluation systems have not been evaluated. The aim of this paper is to encourage research into these “quality improvement processes” by presenting suitable designs and methods, and by describing research approaches which are less familiar in healthcare. The paper proposes that the choice of research design depends on the level and complexity of the intervention. Theory-building approaches are more suitable than experimental theory testing approaches for evaluating higher-level complex interventions and for understanding critical context factors. Collaborative action evaluation studies can provide useful information for decision makers – an example is given. “User focused” research can provide knowledge for developing more effective quality intervention processes and for making better decisions about their use and implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-302
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Evaluation
  • Health care
  • Kaizen
  • Research


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