Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Using formative evaluation methods to improve clinical implementation efforts: Description and an example.

Elwy AR, Wasan AD, Gillman AG, Johnston KL, Dodds N, McFarland C, Greco CM. Using formative evaluation methods to improve clinical implementation efforts: Description and an example. Psychiatry Research. 2020 Jan 1; 283:112532.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Formative evaluation, a rigorous assessment process to identify potential and actual influences on the implementation process, is a necessary first step prior to launching any implementation effort. Without formative evaluation, intervention studies may fail to translate into meaningful patient care or public health outcomes or across different contexts. Formative evaluation usually consists of qualitative methods, but may involve quantitative or mixed methods. A unique aspect of formative evaluation is that data are shared with the implementation team during the study in order to adapt and improve the process of implementation during the course of the study or improvement activity. In implementation science, and specifically within formative evaluation, it is imperative that a theory or conceptual model or framework guide the selection of the various individual, organizational or contextual factors to be assessed. Data from these theory-based constructs can translate into the development and specification of implementation strategies to support the uptake of the intervention. In this article, we describe different types of formative evaluations (developmental, implementation-focused, progress-focused, and interpretive), and then present a formative evaluation case study from a real-world implementation study within several academic pain clinics, guided by the Theory of Diffusion of Innovation.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.