Full citation

Estabrooks, C.; Thompson, D.S., Lovely, J.J.E., & Hofmeyer, A. (2006). A Guide to Knowledge Translation Theory. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26(1), 25-36.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: In the absence of an overarching theory of Knowledge Translation, and to contribute to the creation of same, this paper reviews selected perspectives relevant to creating and implementing successful KT interventions.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Community, Federal lab, Government, Large business, Small business (less than 500 employees), University

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Brokers, Researchers

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model


  • Literature review of existing models shows that knowledge is produced from negotiations among people as they go about their everyday practice. It is produced over time as groups solve the problems they encounter in their practice.
    Literature review, synthesis and author expertise.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 1.D, KTA Step 2.D, Step 1.3, Step 1.2
  • Knowledge Translation — A wide range of models contribute insights for increasing awareness, interest and use of knowledge generated through research activity, among targeted stakeholder groups. Categories of such models include: 1) Organizational Innovation; 2) Social Science Research Utilization; 3) Nursing Research Utilization; 4) Health Promotion.
    Literature review, synthesis and author expertise.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Gate 2, Gate 3, KTA Step 1.A, KTA Step 1.B

Secondary Findings


  • Ottawa Model of Research Use (OMRU) — There are six essential elements in the design of a strategy to introduce research findings into practice: 1) the practice environment; 2) the potential adopters of the evidence; 3) the evidence-based innovation; 4) research transfer strategies; 5) the evidence adoption; 6) health-related and other outcomes. The systematic assessment, monitoring and evaluation of the state of each of the six elements is required before, during and after any efforts to transfer the research findings. (Logan, J et al [1999])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 1.A, KTA Step 1.B, KTA Step 1.C, KTA Step 1.D, KTA Step 1.F, KTA Step 1.G, KTA Step 2.A, KTA Step 2.B, KTA Step 2.C, KTA Step 2.D, KTA Step 2.F, KTA Step 2.G
  • An analysis of over 2,500 research studies showed that seven general factors could account for most scientific knowledge dissemination and utilization efforts: 1) Linkage; 2) Structure; 3) Openness; 4) Capacity; 5) Reward; 6) Proximity; 7) Synergy. (Havelock, R [1969])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 1.D, KTA Step 2.D, Gate 7


  • Knowledge Utilization defined as including research, scholarly, and programmatic intervention activities aimed at increasing the use of knowledge to solve human problems. (Backer, T [1991, p. 226])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 1.3, Step 1.2
  • Diffusion of Innovations - Four main elements influence the spread of a new idea: 1) The idea; 2) Communication channels; 3) Time; 4) A Social System. When presented with new information/ideas, individuals progress through five stages when considering use: 1) Awareness; 2) Persuasion; 3) Decision; 4) Implementation; 5) Adoption. Once adopted by some members of a social system, the idea is shared over time with other members via communication channels. (Rogers, E [12003])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Gate 2, Gate 3, KTA Step 1.A, KTA Step 2.A
  • Research to address identified knowledge gaps should have the following characteristics: be theory-driven, process rather than package oriented, ecological, address common definitions, measures and tools, be collaborative and coordinated, multidisciplinary and multi-method, meticulously detailed, and participatory. (Greenhalgh, RG [2004, p. 615-616])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 3.2