The development of ORACLe: A measure of an organisation's capacity to engage in evidence-informed health policy

Steve R. Makkar, Tari Turner, Anna Williamson, Jordan Louviere, Sally Redman, Abby Haynes, Sally Green, Sue Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Evidence-informed policymaking is more likely if organisations have cultures that promote research use and invest in resources that facilitate staff engagement with research. Measures of organisations' research use culture and capacity are needed to assess current capacity, identify opportunities for improvement, and examine the impact of capacity-building interventions. The aim of the current study was to develop a comprehensive system to measure and score organisations' capacity to engage with and use research in policymaking, which we entitled ORACLe (Organisational Research Access, Culture, and Leadership). Method: We used a multifaceted approach to develop ORACLe. Firstly, we reviewed the available literature to identify key domains of organisational tools and systems that may facilitate research use by staff. We interviewed senior health policymakers to verify the relevance and applicability of these domains. This information was used to generate an interview schedule that focused on seven key domains of organisational capacity. The interview was pilot-tested within four Australian policy agencies. A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was then undertaken using an expert sample to establish the relative importance of these domains. This data was used to produce a scoring system for ORACLe. Results: The ORACLe interview was developed, comprised of 23 questions addressing seven domains of organisational capacity and tools that support research use, including (1) documented processes for policymaking; (2) leadership training; (3) staff training; (4) research resources (e.g. database access); and systems to (5) generate new research, (6) undertake evaluations, and (7) strengthen relationships with researchers. From the DCE data, a conditional logit model was estimated to calculate total scores that took into account the relative importance of the seven domains. The model indicated that our expert sample placed the greatest importance on domains (2), (3) and (4). Conclusion: We utilised qualitative and quantitative methods to develop a system to assess and score organisations' capacity to engage with and apply research to policy. Our measure assesses a broad range of capacity domains and identifies the relative importance of these capacities. ORACLe data can be used by organisations keen to increase their use of evidence to identify areas for further development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Research Policy and Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2016


  • Assessment
  • Capacity
  • Discrete choice experiments
  • Evidence
  • Health policy
  • Knowledge translation
  • Measure
  • Organisation
  • Policymaker
  • Research
  • Research use

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