Full citation

Landry, R., Amara, N., & Lamari, M. (2001). Climbing the Ladder of Research Utilization: Evidence From Social Science Research. Science Communication, 22(4), 396-422.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: A 38% response rate to a mail survey of 3,252 social science faculty members in Canada, yielded insights into the factors contributing to a progression through levels of use of research results by non-academics, as reported by the respondents.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Government, University

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

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

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

Primary Findings

Barriers:

  • Variables that do not contribute to knowledge use among non-academics. The technological model — or science push — stresses the supply of research findings as the major determinant of knowledge use. However, the three derived explanatory variables: 1) focus on advancement of scholarly knowledge; 2) quantitative versus qualitative method applied; 3) intrinsic attributes of science, did not predict increased levels of knowledge use by practitioners.
    A 38% response rate to a mail survey of 3,252 social science faculty members in Canada, yielded insights into the factors contributing to a progression through levels of use of research results by non-academics, as reported by the respondents.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3
  • Transaction Costs of Knowledge Utilization — the costs of actions and tasks required to ensure the use of knowledge by various target audiences. Transaction cost barriers are classified in four categories: 1) Public policies — such as scholarly incentives for knowledge use by academics but not for use by practitioners; 2) Absolute Cost Advantages — experienced scholars with high level of publications have more to offer users than new scholars; 3) Economies of Scale — when costs are large relative to the total demand by users; 4) Customization of Products — more customization increases cost while also decreasing the size of the user group.
    A 38% response rate to a mail survey of 3,252 social science faculty members in Canada, yielded insights into the factors contributing to a progression through levels of use of research results by non-academics, as reported by the respondents.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3

Carrier: To induce knowledge use beyond awareness among non-academics, researchers need to focus on two variables: 1) External funding — securing funding external to their institution which implies their work has value to others and the funding is sufficient to generate a critical volume of publications; 2) User's Context — conduct research pertinent to non-academics by addressing the needs and expectations of receptive audiences who deem the researcher credible, and deliver results in a time frame relevant to their need.
A 38% response rate to a mail survey of 3,252 social science faculty members in Canada, yielded insights into the factors contributing to a progression through levels of use of research results by non-academics, as reported by the respondents.
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3

Model: Levels of Knowledge Utilization — Authors created a questionnaire to record the progression of research findings use by non-academics, containing six levels of use: 1) Transmission to users; 2) Cognition by users; 3) Reference to findings by users; 4) Efforts to adopt; 5) Influence on decisions; 6) Applications and extensions by users.
A 38% response rate to a mail survey of 3,252 social science faculty members in Canada, yielded insights into the factors contributing to a progression through levels of use of research results by non-academics, as reported by the respondents.
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3

Tip: To increase knowledge use among practitioners, Policy Makers should invest more in the activities and tasks that scholars accomplish to customize their products to the needs of users, as well as the receptive capacity of users, dissemination efforts, and linkage mechanisms, to increase knowledge use among target audiences.
A 38% response rate to a mail survey of 3,252 social science faculty members in Canada, yielded insights into the factors contributing to a progression through levels of use of research results by non-academics, as reported by the respondents.
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3

Secondary Findings

Measure: Indicators of knowledge customization for users — activities performed by knowledge creators to make their findings more useful: 1) Revising narrative to make reports easier to read and understand; 2) Restate conclusions and recommendations to make them more specific and operational; 3) Focus on variables amendable to interventions by users; 4) Improve format and graphics to make document more appealing. (Huberman, M. & G. Thurler [1991]. De la recherche a la pratique: Elements de base? Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang SA.)
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3