How do you do stakeholder engagement to inform research? SE Guide developed by KT Core

by: Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, Kids Brain Health Network (formerly NeuroDevNet)

The Kids Brain Health Network (formerly NeuroDevNet) has focused efforts on stakeholder engagement for informing its future directions.  To aid in the process, the KT Core at York University has developed a Stakeholder Engagement Guide of Guides which is the third in the series (the first was the Social Media Guide of Guides, second was the KT Planning Guide of Guides).

Someone recently asked me, how can you do integrated Knowledge Translation (iKT)? First, we must understand iKT, it “is about:

  • Bringing the creators and users of knowledge together for meaningful engagement;
  • Making users aware of research evidence AND researchers aware of information needs of society;
  • Co-producing knowledge, to increase relevance and likelihood of application of findings.

Knowledge users are:

  • Individuals likely to be able to use research findings to make informed decisions about health policies and practices
  • Policy/decision-makers, clinicians, health professionals, caregivers, patients, industry, not-for-profit, etc.”

CIHR goes on to say that organizations can enable iKT by doing the following:

– use clear and consistent terminology among partners and knowledge users

– plan for increased need for flexibility/time for knowledge user involvement

– take a knowledge-user perspective in designing programs/initiatives, evaluating applications, etc.

– facilitate connections between researchers and knowledge users such as workshops, or online portals

– support capacity building through presentations, creation/sharing of resources

– incorporate iKT into operational templates/frameworks.

If we look at the statement “take a knowledge-user perspective in designing programs…” it can be interpreted to mean that iKT can happen without stakeholder engagement; in this case, the organization would step into their knowledge-user’s shoes, but without asking them directly what they need. However, this does not optimize the iKT approach. In order to maximize the benefit to society, or ‘impact’ of your work, it is necessary to engage with your stakeholders.

There are several methods for engaging with your stakeholders to inform your various activities including research and KT. This blog post introduces the new Stakeholder Engagement Guide of Guides created by the KT Core. The Guide begins with a chart that identifies the range of stakeholder engagement methods based on your goal.  There are three categories: “to tell” (the goal is mainly on providing information), “to tell and listen” (the goal is a mixture of providing information and asking questions of stakeholders/encouraging discussion), and “to listen” (the goal is to ask questions of stakeholders and receive their input either verbally or in written format).  The Guide also contains an annotated bibliography of resources for researchers to be able to engage their stakeholders (whoever is directly or indirectly affected by their work such as: patients, clients, policymakers, frontline workers, etc.) in their projects in a number of ways.

Most of the resources within the SE Guide of Guides recommend similar core elements:

1) Clearly define your goal/craft a purpose statement. Why do you need to engage with your stakeholders? Are you aiming to refine the design of a new research project to more accurately respond to the needs of stakeholders, or are you at the end of a research project and would like to elicit the preferences of your knowledge users for what KT products they can use (e.g. infographic or clear language summary?).

2) State your objectives. What is it exactly, that you would like to accomplish from this activity? The objectives should help you achieve your goal.

3) Map your stakeholders. Who do you need to invite? How will they help you accomplish your goal/objectives?

4) Choose the stakeholder engagement method you will use. Sometimes a survey is good enough, but other times you may need deep discussion and analysis of issues from your stakeholders.  The budget you have allocated for stakeholder engagement will also determine what you can do.

5) Evaluate. Did it work? Did you accomplish your goal/objectives?  Think about what else you want to know. You may also wish to ask a question about preferences for ongoing communication afterwards.

Although stakeholder engagement *isn’t* a research project per se, it should be approached with the same mindset you would apply to a research project in the sense that the method, activities, and questions for your stakeholders that you choose depends on what your goal and objectives are. To do it right is important for building and maintaining meaningful relationships with stakeholders.  By taking the time to plan appropriately, and make sure you are making the best use of everyone’s time, it shows respect to your knowledge users and goes a long way towards building good relationships.  From an iKT perspective, showing stakeholders you have listened to what they have said, and responding to their feedback appropriately through modifications to your work, maximizes the potential uptake and implementation of your work.  This, in turn, will also have impact beyond the individual stakeholders you involved in your specific activities, and broaden the benefit of your work to society.

If you are a KBHN (NeuroDevNet) researcher or trainee and would like help planning your stakeholder engagement activities, please do not hesitate to contact the KT Core.

Stakeholder Engagement for Research Uptake / La participation des intervenants dans l’exploitation de la recherche

This week’s guest post comes from York University’s ResearchImpact Blog, MobilizeThis! It was first published on April 22, 2016 and is reposted here with permission. 

Source: Stakeholder Engagement for Research Uptake / La participation des intervenants dans l’exploitation de la recherche

by: David Phipps, KT Lead, NeuroDevNet

Last updated in 2013 (so not new, but new to me), DFID UK has produced a guide to aid in research uptake. This guide helps researchers work with stakeholders to maximize the opportunities for research to be taken up and used by organizations making new products, developing policies and/or delivering services. Using this guide will help facilitate stakeholder engagement to enable research uptake.

Le ministère du Développement international du Royaume-Uni, le DFID, a mis à jour en 2013 (pas franchement nouveau, mais pour moi, oui) un guide pour faciliter l’exploitation des travaux de recherche. Ce guide aide les chercheurs à collaborer avec les intervenants, dans le but de maximiser les occasions d’utiliser la recherche dans la fabrication de nouveaux produits, l’élaboration de politiques ou la prestation de services. Grâce à ce guide, on aura plus de facilité à convaincre les intervenants d’exploiter activement les résultats de la recherche.

We all know (or we all should know) it is important to engage end users (especially lived experience) upstream in the research program. How else do you know your research is going to help meet the needs of people who can benefit from the policies, products and services that are enabled by your research?

The private sector calls this consumer driven design.

Communicators always advocate knowing your audience.

Knowledge mobilizers call this stakeholder engagement.

There is literature on stakeholder engagement (see KMb journal club post). There are methods like the policy dialogue (see another KMb journal club post). Jonathan Weiss (CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research, York University) embeds stakeholder engagement in the work of his Chair and reports annually on his efforts (see his 2014 Annual Report as an example).

But where is the help to help the rest of us?

A researcher in the NeuroDevNet network recently forwarded a guide for research uptake. Research uptake is that moment when a non-academic research partner seeks to take the results of the research in house to inform decisions about their own policies, products and services. This is a critical step in mediating the pathway from research to impact. And effective stakeholder engagement can facilitate this moment of uptake.

Thanks to DFID (UK Department for International Development) this guide book and checklist (yes, there is even a checklist!) are posted at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-uptake-guidance

DFID Research_uptake_guidance figure

As instructed by this guide, effective stakeholder engagement has four stages each with three or four activities described in each stage:

  1. Stakeholder engagement: working through informal networks and mapping out and connecting with relevant stakeholders
  1. Capacity building: not all non-academic research partners have the capacity to take up research evidence. Building capacity for end user uptake is an important element…but is this the job of the researcher or possibly for allied intermediary organizations?
  1. Communicating: synthesizing results, planning communications and publishing research results in accessible formats are all important to facilitate research uptake.
  1. Monitoring and Evaluation: create a logic model including indicators to measure progress at each stage, gather data and feedback results into your research and research uptake processes.

DFID provides a note on advocacy and influencing decisions in partner organizations. DFID “encourages programs to foster evidence informed discussions of research evidence and to encourage decision makers to make use of the full range if research evidence on a given topic. However, research programs should not be lobbying for particular policy changes based on their research results.”

Really? I believe research institutions need to strive for neutrality but researchers themselves are often highly invested in a particular policy position. Why else do media channels ask academic researchers to comment on government positions? While research methods strive to remove bias from the evidence, that unbiased evidence is not necessarily value free from the researcher’s perspective.

And a note to ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche universities and other institutions with a knowledge mobilization mandate…. we don’t have discipline specific stakeholders but we do have institutional stakeholders such as United Way, community associations, municipal and provincial partners, Chambers of Commerce, etc. These institutional stakeholders should be part of our own stakeholder engagement efforts.

Thanks to Anneliese Poetz, Manager KT Core, NeuroDevNet for passing this along and for writing about her own tips for stakeholder engagement on the NeuroDevNet Blog, KT Core-ner.

 

Seeing the diamond in the rough: “Boaty McBoatface” a KT gem?

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

Boaty McBoatfaceThis week, a new $400 million research vessel made national headlines after asking for public input to name it.  The runaway #1 name was “Boaty McBoatface” and was far from the more serious meaningful suggestions the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) had hoped for.  The news reported that the NERC still has the right to decide what to name it – as a KT professional, I am hoping they keep Boaty McBoatface if not for any other reason but to maximize the potential for their KT. [update: as of April 18, 2016 the science minister, Jo Johnson reports te government wants a name that ‘fits the mission’]

I understand the argument not to keep the name: researchers are concerned that their rigorous and important work may not be viewed as credible if the vessel it is carried out with is donned with a name that started out as a joke.  I believe this is a valid concern, however, I would like to offer a different perspective.  As a KT professional, I am aware that KT-conscious researchers, as individuals and, as part of research networks and organizations, are constantly seeking for a way to raise awareness about their work, to create “sticky messages” that audiences will remember.  Indeed, the effectiveness of any KT strategy begins with the ability to raise awareness about the project, the findings, the usefulness and potential application of the work.  While awareness does not guarantee uptake and implementation, if people don’t know about the research, they can’t even consider using it.

Awareness-raising for research projects typically aims to direct attention toward the evidence through dissemination activities such as: conferences, websites, social media.  An integrated knowledge translation approach is based on relationship-building to both inform the research in progress as well as act as a spokesperson to spread the research findings (and hopefully facilitate their uptake and implementation of evidence-informed recommendations into practice and policy).  Researchers, research networks, and organizations promoting evidence-informed decision-making sometimes seek spokespersons who are more broadly recognizable, to be ‘champions’ such as well-known celebrities or athletes.  The reality is, it is very difficult to achieve the desired level of awareness or ‘reach’ of research findings that could maximize uptake and implementation. Capitalizing on the popularity of “Boaty McBoatface” can be an effective means to direct attention to the researchers’ social media channels, websites, for achieving broader awareness of the research evidence.

ECDC antibiotic awareness hedgehogOrganizations have recognized the power of social media and try to create content that will be shared, and go ‘viral’, with the end result being uptake and implementation of their messages.  There is a fine line between ‘gimmicky-ness’ that could reduce credibility and cause people to ignore CDC Zombie Apocalypseit, and something that can go viral while causing effective uptake of evidence-based messages. The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) created a hedgehog mascot to help convey messages about public health.  The United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) launched a “Zombie Apocalypse” twitter campaign that ended up being so successful it crashed their website from visitors who wanted the information on emergency preparedness.

The NERC’s “name our ship” website crashed this past weekend due to the amount of traffic.  I can only think of this kind of public attention as something positive (for their KT), in fact, it is a rare and unexpected gift to the ocean researchers at its helm.

 

How to plan and conduct an effective stakeholder consultation: 7 top tips (Part 1)

by: Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

I wanted to write about top tips for conducting a stakeholder consultation because it is so important to do it right in order to maximize your time and financial investment. The people in attendance are willing to give you the greatest gifts you could receive: their time and their wisdom. It is therefore your obligation to carefully construct the event. There have been other blogs written about stakeholder consultation, that you may also find useful, but I wanted to write about tips I have learned through my own experience.  With that, here are my top tips for conducting a stakeholder consultation to inform your research and KT:

start early

Start planning as early as possible

1) Start Early: You need to start planning at least 6-8 months in advance of the date you plan to hold your event. At this stage you should know: why you need to hold a stakeholder consultation including a general sketch of what you need to know from your stakeholders. Once you know this, you should also be able to roughly sketch out the categories and types of stakeholders you need to invite. Starting early is especially important if you plan to invite Chief Medical Officers of Health, as they need this much notice to be able to get it into their calendars.

2) Write a purpose statement: A purpose statement should be broad and should clearly establish the overarching goal of the meeting. Once you know (as in #1) why you need to hold a stakeholder consultation this will be relatively easy. The purpose statement quickly summarizes why you are holding the meeting, but should include information such as: i) what is the nature of the meeting (e.g. ‘…to provide a forum for information exchange and open discussion….’), ii) who will be attending the meeting (e.g. ‘…between public health practitioners and researchers…’), iii) what the outcome of the meeting is intended to be (e.g. ‘…how current knowledge on partner notification could be incorporated into practice and how knowledge gaps could be addressed’). In this way, it gives participants a quick overview of what the meeting will be about and why their input is important toward achieving the meeting’s outcome(s).

Here is an example of a purpose statement:

To provide a forum for information exchange and open discussion between public health practitioners and researchers on how current knowledge on partner notification could be incorporated into practice and how knowledge gaps could be addressed.

Clearly articulate purpose and objectives of the meeting

Clearly articulate purpose and objectives of the meeting

3) Clearly articulate the objectives of the meeting: The objectives should be clearly articulated, and should relate to but be more specific than the purpose statement. It is critical to do this, and early on in the process. The objectives represent the anchor to which the rest of the meeting will be tethered. In other words, the people you invite, the activities you do, the focus questions you ask, will all be informed by what you are trying to achieve. Sadly, I have observed all too often that this step is neglected in favour of brainstorming and deciding on activities which inevitably end up being a mish mash of disconnected “stuff” that rarely results in a useful set of outcomes.   Usually you would have at least 2-3 objectives for the meeting, but you could have up to around 6, 7 or even 8 depending on what you are trying to achieve and how long the meeting is. Here are example objectives that nest under the purpose statement example above:

  • Provide participants with an overview of [organization name/researcher or project team name(s)] partner notification project and findings to date
  • Provide participants with opportunities to exchange information and ideas on partner notification strategies that have been attempted in local public health jurisdictions
  • Identify ways to incorporate knowledge from research and local experience into policy and practice
  • Identify knowledge gaps related to partner notification and ways to address them
  • Identify a potential role and next steps for [organization/researcher or project team name(s)] to facilitate the improvement of partner notification programs in Canada

 

Linking documentation together makes your meeting stronger

Linking documentation together makes your meeting stronger

4) Link all of your documentation: all documents for the meeting including (but not limited to) the meeting agenda, invitation letters, consistent breakout group/report back forms, evaluation forms should repeat the purpose statement and objectives at the top. Before the event, it helps the meeting organizers and planners to ensure activities are aligned with the purpose and help to achieve the meeting’s objectives as these various documents are being drafted and reviewed. At the event, it shows your attendees that you respect their time by having prepared a seamless and well-organized meeting package (the final documents should also be formatted uniformly). It also helps to ground the meeting as it unfolds, and provides a visual reminder to facilitators and participants of the purpose in case the discussion(s) begin to veer off track. It is especially important to ask participants on the evaluation forms how well they believe the meeting achieved its objectives.

5) Draft an agenda before sending out invitations: your invitees will likely have to book time off work or otherwise rearrange their schedules to attend your meeting, so they need to be able to determine whether their attendance can be justified. In many cases they will need to show the agenda to their employer (which is one reason why it is important to state the purpose and objectives at the top of the agenda) in order to gain approval to take leave from the office to be able to attend.

6) Piggyback onto another event: a popular option for conducting a stakeholder consultation is to tack it onto another event such as a conference that you know there is a good chance your stakeholders will be attending. This greatly cuts down on transportation costs, because if you are paying for your participants’ travel expenses all you have to do is pay for an extra hotel night instead of paying for their airfare as well. The only tricky part is that if the conference is not being coordinated by your own organization it can be difficult to gain access to the attendee list. If you don’t know which of your stakeholders will be attending it can make it a little more difficult to extend invitations strategically. However, you can also target local stakeholders in the city where the event is taking place; if you reach out and ask those stakeholders to come to your consultation it doesn’t really matter if they are already attending the other event because there will be no airfare/travel costs for them to attend anyway (the only expense will be food but you would have to provide that anyway).

Have good food at your consultation with stakeholders

Have good food for your stakeholders

7) Have good food: it’s the least you can do to thank people for their attendance, and it makes the day that much more enjoyable for them. Plus, the benefit to you is that your attendees will be able to think/ provide better input for you if they have had enough (and good) food and coffee. I usually ask the venue caterers to leave the coffee/tea and food out (as opposed to coming and picking up the food right after lunch) so people can ‘graze’ if they get hungry or need to be caffeinated throughout the meeting.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and would like advice on how to plan your stakeholder consultation (or other stakeholder engagement activities), contact the KT Core.

Who’s got the power? A critical consideration of citizen participation in research

by: Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

It is common for KT activities to be limited to dissemination of KT products such as research summaries, infographics or research reports/articles. Sometimes these products are created without consulting the stakeholders who represent the intended target audience, and what is typically measured and reported on is the numbers of these products distributed.  Dissemination is necessary, but usually not sufficient, to create impacts from research.

The two main approaches to Knowledge Translation are end-of-grant (dissemination) and integrated Knowledge Translation (stakeholder engagement/consultation). The evidence on successful KT has demonstrated that iKT approaches are more successful at creating impact. When I think about iKT I am reminded of the topic of my PhD dissertation which focused on a process analysis of a stakeholder consultation approach for informing government decision-making.  One of the frameworks I cited in my literature review was Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of citizen participation in community decision-making within the context of the ‘broader power structures in society’.  Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of citizen participation ranges from one extreme to the other, at one end citizens have all the power and at the other end they have no power at all.  Citizen power is sub-divided into “citizen control, delegated power, and partnership” (citizens have all/greater power) while tokenism is represented as “placation, consultation, informing” and non-participation in community decision-making is referred to as “therapy and manipulation” (non-participation, no power).

Figure 1. Arnstein's ladder of citizen participation

Figure 1. Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation

An iKT approach is important for maximizing the uptake and implementation of research, toward impact. Recently, I found myself wondering how Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation could map onto a research decision-making context.  For example, when a researcher takes an iKT approach to their work, they inform their research questions, methodology, KT products (type, key messages, delivery method, etc), workshops and other activities (toward moving their research findings into uptake and implementation) by using information about their stakeholders’ needs as a result of careful observation (of stakeholders as well as the current state of society, industry, government etc.) and listening to stakeholders.  However, as the subject matter and research process expert, the Principal Investigator/researcher (has to) use discretion in terms of how, where, and why stakeholder input contributes to the overall design and execution of their research (assuming stakeholders are non-researchers).  In this way, it is unrealistic to expect that citizens/stakeholders should be given complete control.  Even if stakeholders are researchers themselves, the Principal Investigator (PI) of the project has obligations (for example) to the funder of their research to reasonably deliver what was promised in their initial grant proposal.  In this way, the PI can be viewed as having more power than their stakeholders in terms of the research process.

However, in order for planned KT activities to result in successful uptake, implementation and impact of research, stakeholders need to feel that: they have been heard and their input is valued; their (information and other) needs are being met by the research project; the KT product(s) created will be useful/helpful to them and/or their clients.  In this way, stakeholders have potentially tremendous influence over the PI’s ability to achieve change through their research output(s). Persuading successful partnership engages stakeholders so that research can, should (and will, if possible given their organization’s capabilities) be used in practice and policy.  Often, they must surmount potential barriers such as stakeholders’ experiential (and other) knowledge, values and job descriptions as well as political and financial restrictions.

According to Arnstein’s ladder taking an integrated approach to KT helps to shift the power from researchers toward stakeholders, and into the “partnership” stage during which both stakeholders and researchers (PIs) redistribute power.  Stakeholders become more open to using research in practice and PIs become more able (through understanding stakeholder needs) to make the necessary adjustments to their research and KT approaches to enable uptake and implementation by these stakeholders.

It is reasonable then to say that effective, integrated KT takes place at the “partnership” level of Arnstein’s ladder.

When is a Chair not a “chair”? Review of the 2nd Annual Stakeholder Meeting on Autism Research in Canada

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

Dr. Jonathan Weiss speaks at his 2nd annual ASD Stakeholder Meeting

Dr. Jonathan Weiss speaks at his 2nd annual ASD Stakeholder Meeting

Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research opened his stakeholder meeting on November 7, 2014 by explaining he isn’t a “chair” in the literal sense – drawing laughter from the gathering of 65 self-advocates, family members, policymakers and practitioners from: the Canadian Federal government, Canadian-funded research entities such as NeuroDevNet, and community based non-profit organizations.

Dan Goldowitz, Scientific Director of NeuroDevNet networking with Doug McCreary, parent of 2 children with ASD

Dan Goldowitz, Scientific Director of NeuroDevNet networking with Doug McCreary, parent of 2 children with ASD

Successful Knowledge Translation (KT) is based on relationships, and stakeholder consultations provide an opportunity for ongoing relationship building – with the researcher(s) as well as networking among stakeholders.

Among presentations from several organizations present, Dr. Weiss provided an overview of the work he’d accomplished as Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research for 2013:

Large group report-back after small group exercises

Large group report-back after small group exercises

Stakeholders were then invited to work in small groups on exercises designed to provide feedback to Dr. Weiss for the purpose of informing his future research.  The breakout group exercises were followed by a large group report-back.

From a KT perspective, it is important to involve (diverse) stakeholders in informing your research  in order to maximize the relevance and subsequent uptake of your findings. In other words, if your research is responsive to the knowledge needs of the people who you hope will use your findings they will be more likely to use it. Even if a particular end user was not personally involved in your consultation events, if your research was responsive to the needs of stakeholders similar to them (e.g. front line workers in similar occupations) they are more likely to find your research relevant than if you hadn’t asked for stakeholder input. If the ‘end users’ find your research useful, it has a better chance of ‘uptake’ into practice, policy and other decisions.

Isaac Coplan (NeuroDevNet KT Coordinator) and Tamara Germani (NeuroDevNet trainee) check in delegates at the registration desk for Dr. Weiss' Nov. 7 stakeholder event

Isaac Coplan (NeuroDevNet KT Coordinator) and Tamara Germani (NeuroDevNet trainee) check in delegates at the registration desk for Dr. Weiss’ Nov. 7 stakeholder event

The KT Core provided support for this stakeholder event by advising on: the agenda, small group activities, meeting evaluation forms, and Dr. Weiss’ presentation slides. During the event, we provided logistical support at the registration desk, tweeted during the event from @neurodevnetKT and @anneliesepoetz (along with Dr. Weiss @DrJonathanWeiss) and captured photos and video footage. These photos and videos will be used in social media, reports, and for creating a video about the day including video interviews with Federal MP Mike Lake and Senator Jim Munson, as well as Doug (father) and son Mike (comedian and self-advocate) McCreary and Autism Speaks Canada. We received the following feedback about our services:

I greatly appreciate all of the time and effort you put into helping Jonathan and I get organized and for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. The day would absolutely not have been as successful as it was without your contributions. I sincerely hope to have an opportunity to work with you both in the future. – Carly Albaum, Lab Coordinator for Dr. Jonathan Weiss

“I’d like to echo Carly’s sentiments – this year’s event surpassed the initial one in my estimation…this is great momentum and we have a great team!” – Dr. Jonathan Weiss

“Appreciated your expert eye for detail Anneliese. Very positive feedback from all the delegates I spoke to.” – Neil Walker, facilitator

If you are planning a stakeholder consultation, contact the KT Core to find out how we can help.

Knowledge Translation (KT) is an attitude before it is a process

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

CollageOfWordMagnetsIf you search for KT models in the literature, you will find several ‘models’ for how KT should ideally happen. Many are comprised of a complex configuration of boxes, arrows, 3-D cone shapes to show the ‘process’ for doing KT (mostly end-of-grant KT). As a result of my PhD work, I developed a KT model that is grounded in the qualitative data I collected, that shows how KT actually happens in complex decision-making systems (for integrated-knowledge translation and end-of-grant KT). I also know that some develop their own model for describing and guiding the process for doing KT in their specific organization. But one thing is true no matter what model or context you are operating within: before you can effectively utilize any model or process for doing KT the people involved have to have the right attitude. If they don’t, even the ‘best’ KT process/model in the universe won’t be effective.

So what is the right attitude? You have to really want to do KT. That’s it.

Below is certainly not an exhaustive list but it gives you the idea.  For:

Hmmm1) Researchers (graduate students to established researchers): you have to sincerely want your research to be useful and used. You need to think at the outset of your research “who will actually find this research useful as I have proposed it?” and go talk to some of them, tell them what you are planning to do and be responsive to their feedback. Being responsive means being willing to change some or all of your research questions in order to make sure your research will answer the questions they have – this is also called addressing gaps in knowledge/evidence.

However, having the right attitude towards ‘end-of-grant KT’ (dissemination) is different than having the right attitude towards ‘integrated knowledge translation’. If you involve these and other diverse stakeholders in the research process, this is called ‘co-production’ and is the most effective way to achieve uptake, implementation and ultimately impact of your research.

If you do these things, you will have maximized the chances your research will useful and used.

CPDecisionMaker_MobileAnalysisLab2) Decision-makers: you have to sincerely want to make evidence-informed decisions and you have to have the organizational support to do so. Decision-makers include practitioners such as frontline staff such as nurses, doctors/clinicians, occupational therapists etc. (since they make several decisions during the course of their work day) as well as program managers (since they make policies, decisions about program components, therapies offered, intake criteria for potential clients which includes assessment and diagnosis) and hospital (and other) CEOs.

3) Organizations: Most people I’ve met are sincerely interested in making decisions based on the latest science. However, they face barriers such as: lack of time to read/absorb journal articles and limited access to journals. Other barriers could include organizational policies and procedures that require things to be done in a certain way, financial (limited resources), political (community/public pressure), and client/patient preferences (for example, treatment options).

So, individuals need to have the right attitude towards KT, but even then the organization has to facilitate this with its own expression of attitude toward KT evidenced by investing in the necessary structure and supports. For example: facilitating access to scientific journals and providing staff with paid time to get up to speed on the latest research (e.g. time to read literature, meet with researchers, attend conferences, attend stakeholder consultations being led by a researcher as part of their IKT, etc.).

Perhaps more importantly, organizations (including governments) that are willing and able to make the effort to stand up to political pressure by making the right decision as supported by the evidence instead of the decision that is popular in the community demonstrate a strong attitude toward evidence-informed decision making.

InsiteTrustTheEvidenceAn example of this can be found in the history of the supervised injection facility in Vancouver called Insite. After a long battle over community (mis)perceptions about the impact it would have, Insite has provided much evidence to show its positive impact on the health of the community, the individuals who attend the clinic, and savings to the health care system.

 

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and need help developing a KT plan (our KT planning service) or finding key stakeholders to consult with or involve in your research (our brokering service), contact the KT Core. In addition to brokering relationships we can offer tools/guides, advice, and review of your KT Plan for end-of-grant and integrated KT.