The SPIRIT Action Framework: A structured approach to selecting and testing strategies to increase the use of research in policy

Sally Redman, Tari Joy Turner, Huw T O Davies, Anna Williamson, Abby Haynes, Sue Ellen Brennan, Andrew Milat, Denise Ann O'Connor, Fiona M Blyth, Louisa Jorm, Sally Elizabeth Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


The recent proliferation of strategies designed to increase the use of research in health policy (knowledge exchange) demands better application of contemporary conceptual understandings of how research shapes policy. Predictive models, or action frameworks, are needed to organise existing knowledge and enable a more systematic approach to the selection and testing of intervention strategies. Useful action frameworks need to meet four criteria: have a clearly articulated purpose; be informed by existing knowledge provide an organising structure to build new knowledge and be capable of guiding the development and testing of interventions. This paper describes the development of the SPIRIT Action Framework. A literature search and interviews with policy makers identified modifiable factors likely to influence the use of research in policy. An iterative process was used to combine these factors into a pragmatic tool which meets the four criteria. The SPIRIT Action Framework can guide conceptually-informed practical decisions in the selection and testing of interventions to increase the use of research in policy. The SPIRIT Action Framework hypothesises that a catalyst is required for the use of research, the response to which is determined by the capacity of the organisation to engage with research. Where there is sufficient capacity, a series of research engagement actions might occur that facilitate research use. These hypotheses are being tested in ongoing empirical work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147 - 155
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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