A decade of knowledge translation research—what has changed?

  • Beverley J. Shea
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-613-233-2740; fax: +1-613-562-5392.
    Affiliations
    Community Interventions and Epidemiological Technologies (CIET Canada), Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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      Knowledge translation (KT) is perhaps an overused term. It reportedly has around 90 synonyms and a wide range of definitions [
      • Straus S.E.
      • Tetroe J.
      • Graham I.
      Defining knowledge translation.
      ,
      • Kitson A.
      • Phil D.
      • Straus S.E.
      The knowledge-to-action cycle: identifying the gaps.
      ,
      • Gagliardi A.
      • Perrier L.
      • Webster F.
      • Leslie K.
      • Bell M.
      • Levinson W.
      • et al.
      Exploring mentorship as a strategy to build capacity for knowledge translation research and practice: protocol for a qualitative study.
      ,
      • Straus S.
      • Haynes R.B.
      Managing evidence-based knowledge: the need for reliable, relevant and readable resources.
      ]. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) define KT as “the exchange, synthesis and ethically sound application of knowledge—within a complex system of interactions among researchers and users—to accelerate the capture of the benefits of research for society through improved health, more effective services and products, and a strengthened health care system” [
      • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
      Canadian Institutes of Health Research knowledge translation strategy 2004–2009.
      ]. Straus et al. [
      • Straus S.E.
      • Tetroe J.
      • Graham I.
      Defining knowledge translation.
      ] prefer to describe KT as “the methods for closing the gaps from knowledge to practice.” This has an appealing directness. In the United Kingdom, and in other jurisdictions, the investigation of KT is rather prosaically known as “implementation research” [
      • Straus S.E.
      • Tetroe J.
      • Graham I.
      Defining knowledge translation.
      ]. This nicely captures the intent of most KT—to ensure that research findings are implemented appropriately and for the net benefit of patients and the public. KT has been the subject of a great deal of investment in several countries. Research funding agencies, such as the UK National Health Service have created new expectations of researchers, such as the recent trend to require lodgment of publications in digital repositories. This has led to a number of national governments have supported free access to the Cochrane Library. In Canada, the federal government has wavered on the latter; however, the CIHR has provided funding for the Canadian Cochrane Center, supported a number of integrated KT activities (for instance, the partnerships for Health System Improvement competition), provided required specification of end-of-grant KT, and has sponsored a number of policy development forums [

      Canadian Institutes of Health Research. About knowledge translation 2009.

      ,
      • Canadian Health Services Research Foundation
      Summary of the article from research to practice: a knowledge transfer planning guide.
      ].
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