Skip to main content

Table 2 Project descriptions, corresponding programme objective, outputs

From: Moving knowledge into action for more effective practice, programmes and policy: protocol for a research programme on integrated knowledge translation

Project Level of partnership Outputs Contribution to goal/objectives
Knowledge syntheses
Objective: to provide the network’s research with a strong foundation based on the existing literature.
Rationale: while IKT has not been extensively studied, there are relevant theories, models and frameworks; primary studies on the process of IKT; and information on how IKT can be measured, but this knowledge has yet to be synthesized in any systematic way.
All knowledge syntheses will be registered in appropriate registries.
1a: Comparing and contrasting integrated knowledge translation with five approaches often used in knowledge translation: identifying and synthesizing germinal literature and consulting with experts
Question: What are the similarities and differences between IKT, participatory research, engaged scholarship, co-production of knowledge, Mode 2 knowledge production?
Design: concept analysis
Sample: germinal articles/books identified by key informants
Project lead: Nguyen, Graham
N/A Conceptual clarity on concepts Goal 3—objective 1
1b: Systematic review of research engagement frameworks
Question: (1) What research engagement frameworks exist? (2) What are the similarities and differences in engagement framework attributes?
Design: systematic review and analysis of framework
Sample: published and grey literature
Project lead: Jull, Graham
N/A Repository of research engagement frameworks
Meta-engagement framework
Goal 3—objective 1
1c: Understanding when integrated knowledge translation works: a realist review
Questions: (1) How can IKT process be theorized and evaluated? (2) What are the impacts (positive/negative) of IKT? (3) What are the mechanisms by which IKT produces impacts under what conditions?
Design: realist review methods [59]
Sample: published and grey literature
Project lead: Kothari, Horsley*
Partnership level will be included in analysis but expect focus on researchers and research user (manager/clinician) partnerships Evidence of effectiveness/impact
Factors contributing to IKT success/failure
Mechanisms by which IKT works under what conditions
Goal 1—objectives 1,2
Goal 2—objectives 1,2,3
1d: Guideline dissemination and implementation interventions for nursing: a systematic review
Question: (1) To identify and assess the effects of the interventions employed to increase the use of practice guidelines in nursing? (2) To what extent has IKT been used as a strategy to increase guideline uptake and to what effect?
Design: systematic review of the published evidence
Sample: all rigorously designed randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of strategies to influence the uptake of practice guidelines by nurses (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, PsychINFO)
Project lead: Godfrey, Graham
N/A Evidence on the effectiveness of strategies (including IKT) to increase use of guidelines in nursing Goal 1—objective 1
Goal 2—objectives 2,3
1e: What are the available tools to evaluate the partnering process in healthcare research? A scoping review
Question: (1) What are the existing measures, assessments, and tools that evaluate researchers’ and stakeholders’ role, satisfaction, expectation, and contribution in healthcare research partnerships?
Design: scoping review [60, 61]
Sample: MEDLINE, PsyINFO, Embase, CINAHL, grey literature (government reports, websites, etc.).
Project lead: Nguyen, Graham
Researcher and knowledge user (research projects) Inventory of instruments Goal 3—objective 2
Case studies
Objective: to amass evidence on the process of IKT and its impact
Rationale: given that an experimental study design will never be feasible or practical to use to determine the effectiveness of integrated knowledge translation or to understand how it works, other study designs are required. We have elected to conduct a number of retrospective and prospective case studies to learn how IKT works with what effect.
2a: An evaluation of an academic-health services partnership network
Question: (1) How does the partnership between the Deakin University Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research and Victorian Health Services work? (2) What are the impacts of such relationships? (3) What are the benefits and issues professors and health service leaders in these partnerships face?
Design: retrospective case study [62,63,64,65], key informant interviews
Sample: 6 partnerships
Project lead: Bucknall, Hutchinson
University and health service partnerships How does IKTR work when the partnership is at the level of a school and health service
Impacts from IKT
Goal 1—objectives 1,2,3
Goal 2—objective 3
Goal 3—objective 1
2b: Link between knowledge user participation and impact: the case of BORN Ontario
Questions: (1) How does BORN Ontario engage knowledge user organizations in co-production of Data Dashboards when not all organizations can be included on committees? (2) How do organizations without committee representation perceive their engagement with BORN? (3) Are there differences in uptake of the Dashboards among organizations that are and are not represented on committees? (4) What criteria should be used to select knowledge user representatives when all research users cannot be included?
Design: retrospective and prospective case study [62,63,64,65]
Sample: BORN and 10–20 stakeholder organizations
Project lead: Dunn
Knowledge producer organization and knowledge user organization
(BORN-Ontario hospitals)
How IKT works when both partners are organizations
How IKT works when not all the user partners can be engaged because of their numbers
Factors contributing to IKT success/failure
Role of leadership in IKT
Perspective of health/funder organizations on IKT
Impacts of partnerships
Goal 1—objective 1
Goal 2—objective 3
Goal 3—objective 1
2c: Exploring the role of leadership and other factors in creating and sustaining a university-health authority partnership for knowledge creation, knowledge translation and organizational change
Question: (1) What is the role of leadership in developing and maintaining the partnership? (2) How does leadership at different levels of the partnering organizations influence the relationship and the outcomes of the partnership?
Design: secondary analysis of a longitudinal-processual analysis of a case study of two organizations; interviews with key informants [66]
Sample: Northern Health-University of Northern British Columbia partnership
Project lead: MacLeod, Gifford
University and regional health authority partnership How IKT works when partners are an academic centre and regional health authority
Factors contributing to IKT success/failure
Role of leadership in IKT
Impacts of partnership
Goal 1—objective 1
Experiential IKT knowledge
Objective: to learn about IKT from doing it.
Rationale: given that IKT is as relatively recent phenomenon and that little knowledge has been codified about how to do IKT, we believe much can be learned from those using this approach. We will be eliciting case stories from network members (researchers and knowledge users) about their experiences working in an IKT way. To focus discussion and research in the field, we will be generating a number of concept papers that identify areas in need of greater conceptualization or research.
3a. IKT Casebook
Question: What can we learn from researcher and knowledge user experiences using an IKT approach?
Design: secondary analyses of case stories.
Sample: network members
Project lead: Graham, Kothari, McCutcheon, Gagnon*
All levels IKT casebooks over the 7 years of funding
Identification of factors Related to successful and unsuccessful partnerships
Goal 1—objective 1
Goal 2—objectives 2,3
3b. Concept papers
Question: What are the issues that should be tackled to advance the science of IKT?
Design: theoretical, conceptual or review papers
Sample: network members
Project lead: Graham, Kothari, McCutcheon, Angus*
All levels Manuscripts highlighting gaps in IKT science Goal 3—objective 1
Funder-focused studies
Objective: to understand IKT and its impact by studying funded studies that required the use of an IKT approach.
Rationale: important sources of data on integrated KT are studies funded through IKT funding opportunities that require knowledge user partnerships. Much can be learned from these studies about how IKT was operationalized, how the research was conducted, the experiences of researchers and knowledge users working in partnership and the results of the study. These IKT studies will also be used to study the effectiveness of these studies by identifying and analyzing their effects and impacts. Given our many knowledge user partners are research funders, we intend to exploit opportunities to identify funded IKT studies so that we may study them.
4a: Advancing the science of integrated knowledge translation with health researchers and knowledge users: understanding current and developing recommendations for integrated KT practice
Questions: (1) What is known about how IKT is conducted and to what effect? (2) What IKT methods have been used in funded projects with what impact? (3) What IKT methods, metrics and evaluation methods are recommended by individuals who are knowledgeable and have a vested interest in IKT?
Design: explanatory mixed methods approach including: scoping review, web-survey and interviews, nominal group consensus
Sample: published and grey literature, principle investigators of CIHR funded IKT grants, IKT researchers and knowledge users
Project lead: Sibley, (funder, clinician, patient knowledge users)
Additional funding being sought for the project.
Researchers-knowledge user partnerships Strategies for doing IKT
Evidence of IKT impact
Recommendations about how to conduct and measure IKT
Goal 1—objective 1
Goal 2—objectives 1,2,3
Goal 4—objective 1
4b: Health research funder strategies to promote IKT and their effectiveness
Question: (1) How do major funders around the globe support IKT? (2) How have funders evaluated the effectiveness/impact of their investments in IKT? (3) How have funder IKT strategies evolved overtime?
Design: scan of website analysis and interviews with research funders-replication of previous funder scans [2, 43, 44]
Sample: ~ 30 research funding agencies from around the world
Project lead: Graham, doctoral student McLean, Holmes*
Researcher and knowledge user (research projects) List of how funders incentivize IKT research
Synthesis of funder evidence for their IKT funding programs
Changes in funder approaches to IKT over a 15-year period
Goal 1—objective 2
Goal 2—objective 3
Goal 3—objective 1
4c: Impact of CIHR IKT funding opportunities.
Questions: (1) What is the relationship between extent of knowledge engagement on iKT grants and impact on addressing CIHR’s mandate areas?
Design: secondary quantitative analysis of CIHR’s KT Programme evaluation data (multiple regression) [43, 44]
Sample: web-survey data from researchers and knowledge-users in the open and IKT funding opportunities
Project lead: Graham, McLean, Rycroft-Malone* (funder knowledge user)
Researcher and clinician, manager, policy maker research user partnerships
(CIHR PHSI, Knowledge to Action and Knowledge Synthesis grants)
Evidence on the relationship between research-user engagement and outcomes attributed to research grants Goal 1—objective 2
Goal 2—objectives 1,3
4d: Researchers’ and knowledge users’ perceptions of research partnerships
Question: (1) What makes a successful partnership? (2) What are barriers and facilitators to successful partnerships? (3) How can funding agencies facilitate required partnerships?
Design: secondary analysis of web-based survey of CIHR researchers and knowledge users.
Sample: CIHR researchers and knowledge users surveyed in 2009.
Project lead: Sibbald, Graham
Researcher and knowledge user (research projects) Factors related to successful partnerships
Identified barriers and facilitators of partnerships
Recommendations for funders interested in supporting IKT research
Goal 1—objective 1, 2
Goal 2—objective 2
Organization-focused studies
Objective: to describe the experiences of IKT from the perspective of knowledge user organizations
Rationale: much of the literature on researcher/knowledge user partnerships has focused on the individual who is the knowledge user partner rather than the organization that individual. Our assumption is that one of the next frontiers in IKT will focus on organizations as knowledge user partners so it is imperative to understand the partnering experiences and expectations of knowledge user organizations.
5a: Understanding IKT from the perspective of organizations: a mixed methods study
Questions: (1) How do organizations make decisions about who and when they should partner with researchers? (2) What is the organizational experience of researcher partnerships?
Design: survey, content-analysis, focus-group interviews
Sample: organizations listed on CIHR funded research projects as knowledge users.
Project lead: Horsley
All 3 levels Knowledge of perspectives and experiences with IKT process
Strategies used by organizations to manage IKT
Guidance on how organizations attract and work with researchers to do research on the organization’s priority areas
Goal 1—objectives 1,2
Goal 2—objectives 2,3
Goal 3—objective 1
Goal 4—objective 1
5b: Principles of partnering with researchers to inform substantial health system change
Questions: (1) How do health authorities make decisions about which researchers to partner with and when? (2) What is the health authority experience with researcher partnerships? (3) What policies and processes do health authorities have to guide research partnership decisions?
Design: website document review, web-survey, qualitative methods-interviews
Sample: Canadian regional health authorities.
Project lead: Botting
Researchers and health authority partnerships Health authority perspectives and experiences with IKT processes
Strategies used by organizations to manage IKT
Guidance on how health authorities manage research proactively and reactively partnerships with researchers
Goal 1—objectives 1,2
Goal 2—objectives 2,3
Goal 3—objective 1
Goal 4—objective 1
Researcher and university-focused studies
Objective: to understand the implications of using an IKT approach for researchers.
Rationale: researchers report that universities tend not to incentivize researchers to do IKT and that performance metrics seldom value partnerships with knowledge users. For example, impact citation metrics are highly valued where efforts to develop, nurture and sustain partnerships with knowledge users may not be. Few data actually exist on how university performance expectations support or discourage IKT. These data could be used to highlight university barriers to IKT and encourage discussion of these barriers.
6a: Are health researchers involved in research focused on uptake of research into practice reporting research translation and impact activities on their CVs? A web-survey of researchers
Question: How do researchers report their KT and IKT activities in their CVs?
Design: web-survey.
Sample: researchers on mailing list of the international Knowledge Utilization Colloquium and the Collaborative Healthcare Improvement Partnership (CHIPs) theme group of the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research.
Project lead: Stacey
N/A Knowledge about researcher CV practices Goal 4—objective 1
6b: University Schools of Nursing policies promoting or discouraging IKT
Question: What university incentives and policies affect researcher involvement in IKT?
Design: document analyses and key informant interviews
Sample: university tenure and promotion criteria, university administrators
Project lead: Banner
N/A List of Canadian SON, and other university policies and their influence on IKT Goal 1—objective 3
Measurement studies
Objective: to develop, refine and validate measures to assess partnering processes and impacts of IKT
Rationale: currently, validate measures of IKT partnering and measures of the impacts of IKT are lacking. Without being able to measure how well a researcher/ knowledge user partnership is functioning or the outcomes of doing IKT, the ability to develop strategies to make partnerships more effective or to demonstrate the effectiveness of IKT will remain limited.
7: Developing and testing a valid, sensitive, reliable IKT questionnaire based on the Kothari et al. indicators [67, 68]
Design: quantitative methods—web-survey design and psychometric testing, qualitative methods—cognitive interviewing
Sample: emergent case studies
Project lead: Kothari, Graham
N/A Measures of partnership process and impact
Predictors of successful partnerships
Goal 3—objective 2
IKT tools and capacity building
Objective: to develop IKT tools and training materials for researchers and knowledge users and to increase researchers’ and knowledge users’ capacity for IKT.
Rationale: the use of IKT will not increase unless researchers and knowledge users acquire knowledge about IKT and the skills to partner and work together. Building this capacity will be even more needed should studies demonstrate the value of IKT.
8a: Knowledge translation plan guides: a pragmatic, conceptual synthesis
Question: What guidance is provided to researchers and research-users about doing KT and IKT?
Design: systematic review and document analyses
Sample: funder websites, peer reviewed and grey literature
Project lead: McCutcheon, doctoral student Mrklas
N/A Repository of KT and IKT guidance documents
Analysis comparing documents to facilitate decisions about usefulness of each
Goal 4—objective 1
8b: Development and field testing of IKT training modules for researchers and knowledge users: identifying competencies for integrated knowledge translation
Question: (1) What are IKT competencies for researchers (students and early career) and knowledge users? (2) What are researchers’ and knowledge users’ preferred instructional strategies to learn IKT competencies? (3) How effective are IKT training modules?
Design: literature review, key informant interviews, Delphi methods, pre/post evaluation
Sample: convenience sample of researchers and knowledge users, network members
Project lead: Yeung, doctoral students Plamondon and Mrklas (knowledge users)
N/A List of IKT competencies
Training modules
Goal 4—objectives 1,2
8c: Conducting patient-oriented research: an online tutorial for the use of a collaborative framework for community-research partnerships
Question: (1) What should be the guiding features for researcher-indigenous community research partnerships? (2) What guidance should be provided to researchers and indigenous partners about working in an IKT way?
Design: theory and literature based, user testing
Sample: an advisory group of indigenous people
Project lead: postdoc Jull, Graham, indigenous knowledge users
Funding by the Ontario Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Unit
Researcher-knowledge user (indigenous patients and communities) Training module Goal 4—objectives 1,2
8d: Experiences of patient-researcher partnerships in integrated knowledge translation: a study to develop online training for patient-oriented research
Question: (1) What are patient and researchers experiences as research partners? (2) What guidance should be provided to researchers and knowledge-users about doing KT and IKT?
Design: qualitative methods—interviews, pedagogical theory
Sample: 15 patients and 15 researchers
Project lead: Law, Wright, Graham
Funding by the Ontario SPOR Support Unit
Researcher-knowledge user (patient) Understanding of the experiences of patients and researchers of patient-researcher partnerships
Two scalable training modules for patients and researchers on how to manage patient-researcher partnerships
Goal 4—objectives 1,2
Emergent projects during 2nd half of grant
 - Emergent partnership case study
 - Emergent partnership case study
 - Developing and testing theory-based strategies/interventions to increase knowledge user partnering with researches and to increase capacity to use research
 - Other emergent studies
Depends on the case
How IKT works or does not work
Factors contributing to IKT success/failure
Role of leadership in IKT
Impacts of partnerships
Strategies proven effective at increasing organizations’ capacity to partner with researchers and to use research findings
Goal 1—objectives 1,2
Goal 2—objective 3
Goal 3—objectives 1,2
Goal 3—objectives 1,2
Goal 3—objective 3
Project: Meta-synthesis of program projects findings All 3 levels Science and practice of IKT greatly advanced
Canada recognized as a leader in studying IKT
Has potential to address objectives from goals 1–3
  1. IKT integrated knowledge translation, CIHR Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  2. *Knowledge user