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Table 1 Definition and identification of concepts in SCMO configurations

From: What can we learn from interventions that aim to increase policy-makers’ capacity to use research? A realist scoping review

Concept Definition of concept in this review How this was identified in the analysis
Intervention strategy Intervention strategies work by changing participants’ reasoning and resources; importantly, they do not work in a void, but interact with contextual features to generate change The intervention strategies listed in the results were identified from authors’ descriptions of attempts to support or advance policy-makers’ capacity to use research in their work (listed by study in Additional file 2)
Context Context is any condition that affects how people respond to intervention strategies (i.e. if and how mechanisms are activated); they include settings, structures, circumstances, and the attributes and attitudes of those delivering and receiving the intervention Contextual features were identified primarily from authors’ accounts of intervention settings and circumstances before and during implementation. On occasion, they were inferred from information about responses to the intervention. In the SCMO tables that follow, we focus on aspects of context that relate specifically to each mechanism; a more general overview of context is provided first
Mechanism Mechanisms are how an intervention works; they are responses to the resources, opportunities or challenges offered by the intervention. Mechanisms are activated to varying extents (or not at all) depending on interactions between intervention strategies and contexts. Although mechanisms are not observable, their impacts are, so they can be inferred, tested and refined With one arguable exception [101], none of the studies explicitly identified or tested causal mechanisms so we inferred mechanisms from authors’ accounts of how the intervention was conceived, designed, delivered and received (i.e. how it was meant to function and how it actually functioned); this was supplemented with similar information from some of the non-eligible studies that were identified in this search, and from the wider theoretical and implementation literature. Mechanisms posited in the results tables that follow include hypotheses about (1) how each intervention strategy worked (where mechanisms were activated successfully) and (2) how strategies would have worked if they had been appropriate in that context (where mechanisms were not activated and their absence may account for poor outcomes)
Outcome These are intended or unintended impacts generated by mechanisms; as described in the previous section, in this review outcomes may be proximal (process effects) or more distal study outcomes Outcomes of interest were explicit in most of the reviewed studies; where they were vague, we inferred them from the studies’ research questions, interview foci and reported results ( described in Additional file 2)