Translational framework for implementation evaluation and research: a normalisation process theory coding manual for qualitative research and instrument development

Carl R. May*, Bianca Albers, Mike Bracher, Tracy L. Finch, Anthony Gilbert, Melissa Girling, Kathryn Greenwood, Anne MacFarlane, Frances S. Mair, Christine M. May, Elizabeth Murray, Sebastian Potthoff, Tim Rapley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) is frequently used to inform qualitative research that aims to explain and evaluate processes that shape late-stage translation of innovations in the organisation and delivery of healthcare. A coding manual for qualitative researchers using NPT will facilitate transparent data analysis processes and will also reduce the cognitive and practical burden on researchers.                                                                                     Objectives: (a) To simplify the theory for the user. (b) To describe the purposes, methods of development, and potential application of a coding manual that translates normalisation process theory (NPT) into an easily usable framework for qualitative analysis. (c) To present an NPT coding manual that is ready for use.                                                                                                          Method: Qualitative content analysis of papers and chapters that developed normalisation process theory, selection and structuring of theory constructs, and testing constructs against interview data and published empirical studies using NPT.                                                                                                          Results: A coding manual for NPT was developed. It consists of 12 primary NPT constructs and conforms to the Context-Mechanism-Outcome configuration of realist evaluation studies. Contexts are defined as settings in which implementation work is done, in which strategic intentions, adaptive execution, negotiating capability, and reframing organisational logics are enacted. Mechanisms are defined as the work that people do when they participate in implementation processes and include coherence-building, cognitive participation, collective action, and reflexive monitoring. Outcomes are defined as effects that make visible how things change as implementation processes proceed and include intervention mobilisation, normative restructuring, relational restructuring, and sustainment.                                           Conclusion: The coding manual is ready to use and performs three important tasks. It consolidates several iterations of theory development, makes the application of NPT simpler for the user, and links NPT constructs to realist evaluation methods. The coding manual forms the core of a translational framework for implementation research and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Number of pages15
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
Early online date22 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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