Full citation

Gagnon, M.L. (2011). Moving Knowledge to Action Through Dissemination and Exchange. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 64(1), 25-31.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: The author explores knowledge dissemination and knowledge exchange activities, which are embedded in the knowledge translation process. There paper documents a variety of dissemination and exchange processes. A taxonomy of knowledge translation activities (which includes push, pull and exchange activities) is also presented. Knowledge exchange is equated to integrated knowledge translation and involves active collaboration and exchange between researchers and knowledge users throughout the research process. Success factors for integrated knowledge translation are summarized.

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

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

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

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

Secondary Findings

Carriers:

  • Knowledge brokers are a potential strategy for moving knowledge to action. The rationale for knowledge brokers is the need to provide an intermediary who could facilitate collaborations between researchers and research users and find research evidence to shape decisions, be able to assess this evidence, interpret it and adapt it to circumstances and identify emerging management and policy issues that research could help inform. Knowledge of marketing and communication and the capacity to span boundaries and understand the potentially disparate worlds that researchers and knowledge users live in is also needed. Based on this skill set, individuals with diverse experience in both the research and decision or policy-making worlds or organizations whose mandate is to span these worlds would be ideal knowledge brokers. From this description, it can be concluded that knowledge brokering is certainly not new. Relationship brokers exist in most organizations and sectors. What is new, however, are growing calls to recognize and formalize this role in the KT process not only to evaluate its effectiveness but also to capitalize on the benefits it can bring to the process while also learning more about its potential drawbacks (Lawrence [2006]; Lomas [1993, 2007]; Canadian Health Services Research Foundation [2003, 2004]; Lyons [2006]; Dobbins [2009])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 3.1, Step 2.2, Step 1.1
  • Actively involving knowledge users as partners in the research process is a strong predictor that the research findings will be used and that the research endeavor overall will achieve a greater impact. (Lomas [2000, 2007]; Denis [2003]; Ross [2003]; Kothari [2005]; Minkler [2005])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 3.1, Step 2.2, Step 1.1
  • Networks, including communities of practice, knowledge networks, and soft networks, are potentially effective mechanisms for knowledge dissemination and application because their principal purpose is to connect people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to interact, enable dialog, stimulate learning, and capture and diffuse knowledge. A community of practice is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals usually focused on improving professional practice. Although communities of practice tend to be relatively informal, a knowledge network is a more formal community consisting of groups of experts from different fields who come together around a common goal or issue. Finally, a soft network is a large referral system whereby members sign onto a LISTSERV primarily for the purpose of making connections. Each type of network can play a role in the dissemination of knowledge. (Birdsell [2003]; Wenger [2002]; Cambridge [2009]; Canadian Health Services Research Foundation [2009])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 3.1, Step 2.2, Step 1.1
  • Success factors for integrated knowledge translation (which brings together researchers and knowledge users for the purpose of generating, exchanging, and applying knowledge to understand and address an issue) include: a process to develop a shared perspective, common language, and common understanding about the issue that stakeholders will be focusing on; a plan for collaboration with explicit description of roles and responsibilities and a commitment to regularly assess its effectiveness; participants with competencies and experiences in building, negotiating, and maintaining effective research and knowledge translation collaborations; a strategy for ensuring that trusting relationships among stakeholders are maintained and conflicts are resolved appropriately when they arise; and institutional support, including incentives in both academic and knowledge user environments, could also facilitate success. (CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research [2006]; Denis [2003]; Ross [2003]; Kothari [2005]; Minkler [2005]; Ducharme [2003]; CIHR Institute of Population [2006]; Walter [2003]; Golden-Biddle [2003]; Roussos [2000]; Cousins [1996]; Watson [2007]; Israel [1998]; Butterfoss [2006]; Parry [2009])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 3.1, Step 2.2, Step 1.1

Method: One knowledge transfer planning guide offers five questions researchers should consider when undertaking knowledge dissemination: (1) What is the message? (2) Who is the audience? (3) Who is the messenger? (4) What is the transfer method? (5) What is the expected outcome? (Reardon [2006])
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 1.5

Tips:

  • One question researchers should consider when undertaking knowledge dissemination is: Who is the messenger? Attention to messages is enhanced if the audiences regard the messenger as a credible spokesperson. (Reardon [2006])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Tip 1.3, KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3
  • One question researchers should consider when undertaking knowledge dissemination is: Who is the audience? Messages should be developed with a particular audience in mind that is likely in a position to use the research-based information for decision-making purposes. Understanding audiences and their information needs is enhanced through ongoing relationships between the decision makers in question and those who are producing the research. (Reardon [2006])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 1.5
  • One question researchers should consider when undertaking knowledge dissemination is: What is the message? Messages should include credible facts and data, findings, and conclusions, and/or a body of evidence that can be expressed as an actionable idea. (Reardon [2006])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, KTA Stage 1, Step 1.5
  • One question researchers should consider when undertaking knowledge dissemination is: What is the transfer method? Transfer methods need to be carefully considered in light of a number of factors, including the nature and size of the audience and available resources to devote to dissemination. Regardless of the audience, active engagement between researchers and those who can use the knowledge and packaging the messages for the particular audience will likely enhance uptake. (Reardon [2006])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 1.5
  • One question researchers should consider when undertaking knowledge dissemination is: What is the expected outcome? The dissemination plan should consider what impact the proposed activities will achieve before it is implemented. This may enhance the plan’s success and facilitate evaluation of the plan. Reardon et al. identified three possible impacts: indirect use or changes in knowledge awareness or attitude, direct use or changes in behaviors, and tactical use or the use of research to validate or defend a decision that has already been taken for other reason. (Reardon [2006])
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3, Step 1.5