Presents models suggesting how research evidence can best be operationalised within health care commissioning. Models were derived from data gathered from surveys of Scottish health board managers and GP fundholders regarding the use of information in commissioning from 1995 to 1997. Feedback on the models was obtained subsequently from practitioners in 1998. Two models, one for health board managers and the other for GPs, are presented. These include critical success factors in achieving evidence-based commissioning and factors that are likely to predispose and precipitate evidence-based practice. Given a culture demanding transparency, accountability and continuing improvement, the models provide tools for reflection, evaluation and planning. In addition, they identify a pragmatic role for managers in evidence-based commissioning and provide a framework for audit.