As described in earlier sections there are a number of methods currently being advocated and used to analyse qualitative data as part of systematic reviews.  It is not necessary to use NPT either as a tool for analysis or as a method of framing the research questions for the review in order to allow one to use it as a conceptual framework to aid understanding and interpretation of results obtained through any number of different approaches such as narrative review or meta-ethnography.  NPT provides a set of principles that can be used to provide focus  to a discussion section and can provide a good analytical framework with good explanatory power.  Considering, how the key findings of a review relate to implementation processes as outlined within NPT may permit development of ideas about mechanisms of action and the formation of new propositions or hypotheses.  NPT describes how the work of implementation is operationalized through four generative social mechanisms (see NPT Core Constructs), if a literature review shows a paucity of data in one or more areas this suggests a clear deficiency.  Thus, mapping identified themes onto the constructs of the NPT and identifying what, if any, issues fall outside the model should provide important information about key steps in the implementation process and aid the development of recommendations in relation to what is known and what merits further investigation.

Things to consider

  • NPT will be most useful in helping to interpret systematic reviews that are looking at implementation processes, ranging from new procedures or new ways of working to the introduction of new technologies or clinical guidelines.
  • As NPT focuses on the "work" that people do it will also be helpful when exploring self care processes.