Full citation

Dobbins, M., Robeson, P., Ciliska, D., Hanna, S., Cameron, R., O'Mara, L., DeCorby, K. & Mercer, S. (2009). A Description of a Knowledge Broker Role Implemented as Part of a Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating Three Knowledge Translation Strategies. Implementation Science 2009, 4(23), 1-16.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: Knowledge brokering is one strategy that can be used to promote greater interaction between researchers and knowledge users and a higher probability for the application of research-based knowledge. This paper describes the characteristics, roles and activities of knowledge brokers in a public health project. Knowledge brokering activities were classified into the following categories: initial and ongoing needs assessments; scanning the horizon; knowledge management; knowledge translation and exchange; network development, maintenance, and facilitation; facilitation of individual capacity development in evidence informed decision making; and facilitation of and support for organizational change.

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, Clinicians, 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

Methods:

  • Knowledge brokering — supplementing in-person brokering services with an electronic network can enhance stakeholder interaction and knowledge sharing. Networks can be used to optimize project time and resources. Useful network features include, tailored literature retrieval; collaborative evidence appraisal, interpretation and application; and other facilitated group-oriented interactions (e.g., teleconferencing, webinars).
    Description of knowledge broker roles.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 1.D, KTA Step 2.D, KTA Step 3.D, Step 1.3
  • Knowledge brokering — the closer the knowledge brokering service matches the knowledge users’ needs and environment, the more likely the brokering services will be used. One way to facilitate this alignment is to conduct an in-depth needs assessment with potential participants. This approach is helpful in building relationships between the broker and potential users — which facilitates trust and sustainable engagement. This approach also enables the broker to better understand the life cycle of the users’ project and to adapt service offerings to changing needs.
    Description of knowledge broker roles.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 1.A, Step 2.2, Step 1.1

Tips:

  • Knowledge brokering — high frequencies of face-to-face interaction between the broker and a broad cross-section of stakeholders may hasten relationship-building and capacity-building, and may optimize the tailoring of brokering services and support.
    Description of knowledge broker roles.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 1.1, KTA Step 1.B, KTA Step 2.B, KTA Step 3.B
  • Knowledge brokering — when used in the right situation (where a needs is addressed in a way that complements user practices and environments), it can enhance the overall perception and specific practice of the use of research-based evidence in decision-making.
    Description of knowledge broker roles.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 3.3, KTA Step 1.D
  • Knowledge brokering — a significant portion of the broker’s time should be allocated to relationship- and capacity-building. These are complex processes and often mirror the complexity of the project and its environment. They are processes that are foundational to effective brokering. The time requirement is often under-estimated, which can place considerable pressure on the broker and the stakeholders.
    Description of knowledge broker roles.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 1.1, KTA Step 1.B, KTA Step 2.B, KTA Step 3.B
  • Knowledge brokering — knowledge brokers should factor-in the potential influences of powerful intangibles, such as, the political environment of the project, its stakeholders and organization(s); confidentiality protocols and practices; and, competing interests and priorities.
    Description of knowledge broker roles.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 1.C, KTA Step 2.C, KTA Step 3.C
  • Knowledge brokers — no single job description can comprehensively define the requisite qualifications and/or roles. They are primarily set by the attributes of the target audience and their environment.
    Description of knowledge broker roles.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 3.1, KTA Step 1.D

Secondary Findings

  • Knowledge brokers — with an acute awareness of those stakeholders that generate evidence and those stakeholders that could benefit from access to that evidence, brokers can be instrumental in building capacity to locate, appraise, and translate evidence into the local context. (Hartwich [2000]; Lavis [2003]; Pyper [2002])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 3.1
  • Knowledge brokers — with an acute awareness of those stakeholders that generate evidence and those stakeholders that could benefit from access to that evidence, brokers can be instrumental in increasing the incidence of research-finding being interpreted, increasing their relevance for action. (Thompson [2006])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 3.1
  • Knowledge brokers — with an acute awareness of those stakeholders that generate evidence and those stakeholders that could benefit from access to that evidence, brokers can be instrumental in facilitating learning. (Hartwich [2000]; World Health Organization [2004]; Hinloopen [2004]; Loew [2004])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 3.1
  • Knowledge brokers — the personality characteristics of a knowledge broker can affect the impact of their actions — positively and negatively. Care must be taken to match knowledge broker characteristics with the knowledge brokering environment. (Clark [2005]; van Kammen [2006]; Bowen [2005])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 3.1
  • Knowledge brokering — is a popular emerging knowledge translation and exchange strategy that promotes interaction between researchers and end users, as well as develops capacity for evidence-informed decision making. (Canadian Health Services Research Foundation [2003]; Hartwich [2000]; Hon [2004]; Verona [2006]; Zook [2004]; Burnett [2002]; Hargadon [1998a]; Hargadon [1998b])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 3.1