Reflections on knowledge brokering within a multidisciplinary research team.
ABSTRACT Knowledge brokering (KB) may be one approach of helping researchers and decision makers effectively communicate their needs and abilities, and move toward increased use of evidence in health care. A multidisciplinary research team in Nova Scotia, Canada, has created a dedicated KB position with the goal of improving access to quality colorectal cancer care. The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-progress perspective on KB within this large research team. A KB position ("knowledge broker") was created to perform two primary tasks: (1) facilitate ongoing communication among team members; and (2) develop and maintain collaborations between researchers and decision makers to establish partnerships for the transfer and use of research findings. In this article, we discuss our KB model and its implementation, describe the broker's functions and activities, and present preliminary outcomes. The primary functions of the KB position have included: sustaining team members' engagement; harnessing members' expertise and sharing it with others; developing and maintaining communication tools/strategies; and establishing collaborations between team members and other stakeholders working in cancer care. The broker has facilitated an integrated knowledge translation approach to research conduct and led to the development of new collaborations with external stakeholders and other cancer/health services researchers. KB roles will undoubtedly differ across contexts. However, descriptive assessments can help others determine whether such an approach could be valuable for their research programs and, if so, what to expect during the process.
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ABSTRACT: The empirical basis for theories and common wisdom regarding how to improve appropriate use of research evidence in policy decisions is unclear. One source of empirical evidence is interview studies with policy-makers. The aim of this systematic review was to summarise the evidence from interview studies of facilitators of, and barriers to, the use of research evidence by health policy-makers. We searched multiple databases, including Medline, Embase, Sociofile, PsychLit, PAIS, IBSS, IPSA and HealthStar in June 2000, hand-searched key journals and personally contacted investigators. We included interview studies with health policy-makers that covered their perceptions of the use of research evidence in health policy decisions at a national, regional or organisational level. Two reviewers independently assessed the relevance of retrieved articles, described the methods of included studies and extracted data that were summarised in tables and analysed qualitatively. We identified 24 studies that met our inclusion criteria. These studies included a total of 2041 interviews with health policy-makers. Assessments of the use of evidence were largely descriptive and qualitative, focusing on hypothetical scenarios or retrospective perceptions of the use of evidence in relation to specific cases. Perceived facilitators of, and barriers to, the use of evidence varied. The most commonly reported facilitators were personal contact (13/24), timely relevance (13/24), and the inclusion of summaries with policy recommendations (11/24). The most commonly reported barriers were absence of personal contact (11/24), lack of timeliness or relevance of research (9/24), mutual mistrust (8/24) and power and budget struggles (7/24). Interview studies with health policy-makers provide only limited support for commonly held beliefs about facilitators of, and barriers to, their use of evidence, and raise questions about commonsense proposals for improving the use of research for policy decisions. Two-way personal communication, the most common suggestion, may improve the appropriate use of research evidence, but it might also promote selective (inappropriate) use of research evidence.Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 11/2002; 7(4):239-44. · 1.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Conceptual, methodological, and practical issues await those who seek to understand how to make better use of health services research in developing public policy. Some policies and some policymaking processes may lend themselves particularly well to being informed by research. Different conclusions about the extent to which policymaking is informed by research may arise from different views about what constitutes health services research (is it citable research or any professional social inquiry that can aid in problem solving?) or different views about what constitutes research use (is it explicit uses of research only, or does it also include tacit knowledge or the positions of stakeholders when they are informed by research and are influential in the policymaking process?). Some conditions may favor the use of research in policymaking, like sustained interactions between researchers and policymakers. Results from an exploratory study on the use of health services research by Canadian provincial policymakers illustrate these issues.Milbank Quarterly 02/2002; 80(1):125-54. · 4.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Significant resources and time are invested in the production of research knowledge. The primary objective of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of three knowledge translation and exchange strategies in the incorporation of research evidence into public health policies and programs. This trial was conducted with a national sample of public health departments in Canada from 2004 to 2006. The three interventions, implemented over one year in 2005, included access to an online registry of research evidence; tailored messaging; and a knowledge broker. The primary outcome assessed the extent to which research evidence was used in a recent program decision, and the secondary outcome measured the change in the sum of evidence-informed healthy body weight promotion policies or programs being delivered at health departments. Mixed-effects models were used to test the hypotheses. One hundred and eight of 141 (77%) health departments participated in this study. No significant effect of the intervention was observed for primary outcome (p < 0.45). However, for public health policies and programs (HPPs), a significant effect of the intervention was observed only for tailored, targeted messages (p < 0.01). The treatment effect was moderated by organizational research culture (e.g., value placed on research evidence in decision making). The results of this study suggest that under certain conditions tailored, targeted messages are more effective than knowledge brokering and access to an online registry of research evidence. Greater emphasis on the identification of organizational factors is needed in order to implement strategies that best meet the needs of individual organizations. The trial registration number and title are as follows: ISRCTN35240937 -- Is a knowledge broker more effective than other strategies in promoting evidence-based physical activity and healthy body weight programming?Implementation Science 09/2009; 4:61. · 2.37 Impact Factor