Key Resources

In this section you’ll find a variety of academic references. I’ve tried to include the pdf of all research cited here. Yes, this flouts copyright law in some instances. I apologize in advance, but I believe strongly that research findings must be free.

Priority Setting

Priority setting is an essential, if often overlooked, function of national health research systems. Priority-setting processes are critical in aligning research funding with national evidence needs and in identifying the research questions necessary to fill knowledge gaps. In general, however, most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) do not have a rational process in place to set health research priorities. Instead, the pattern of research funding is driven by the interests of research funders, who are often external rather than domestic actors. When priority-setting processes do occur, they are typically disease-driven and without a broader, more integrated systems-level perspective (e.g. determining how research might address one or more health-system building blocks). As a result, there is rarely consensus on national evidence needs, few national research priorities are set, and research in LMICs continues to follow the fleeting and shifting priorities of global funders.

For a list of priority-setting readings, including article pdfs, click here.

Knowledge Translation

Since its star turn at the 2004 Ministerial Summit in Mexico, the concept of knowledge translation (KT) has emerged as a leading approach in narrowing the rift between research and policy. Often misunderstood as a technique to transfer research findings directly to policy, KT is more properly imagined as a meeting and a marrying of processes – typically those of research and policy. Both processes are non-linear, and both go much deeper than a product – research findings, for instance, or a policy statement – or a stand-alone event. They are both richly complex, continually evolving, and often opaque to the outsider.

For a list of core knowledge-translation readings, including article pdfs, click here.

Deliberative Dialogues

A deliberative dialogue is a process of collective and procedural discussion where an inclusive and representative set of stakeholders consider facts from multiple perspectives, converse with one another to think critically about options, and through reasoned argument refine and enlarge their perspectives, opinions and understandings. Such dialogues are a crucial component to most knowledge translation tools and processes, and indeed are central to many different priority-setting processes. Critically, deliberative dialogues can “add scientific and social credibility to the decision-making process because it brings together stakeholders who will be directly affected by the decision eventually made on the basis of the guidance” (CHSRF, 2006).

For a list of deliberative-dialogue resources, inlcuding article pdfs, click here.


The Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research has been leading some excellent work in Zambia. One project is dedicated to creating, with the Ministry of Health, a new National Health Research Council that would oversee everything from coordination to priority setting to strengthening the capacity of researchers and research-users. A short project update can be found here. The Coalition is also directly involved with the Zambia Forum for Health Research (ZAMFOHR), an organization I helped to create with Dr. Joseph Kasonde in 2005.


There are a host of excellent video sites on the internet that feature development projects and approaches. See Rana Ghose’s page for a fine example.