Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science (KT/IS) Methods Cluster

What is Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science?

Knowledge Translation may be defined as “using health research to improve health.” This refers to a broad range of initiatives meant to improve the use of research evidence in practice, including:

  • Synthesis: integrating study findings into the larger body of knowledge on a topic
  • Dissemination: identifying appropriate audiences and tailoring messages to the audience
  • Exchange: interaction between researchers and research users resulting in mutual learning
  • Application: the iterative process by which knowledge is put into practice

Implementation Science may be defined as “the scientific study of methods to promote the uptake of research findings into routine healthcare in clinical, organisational or policy contexts.

Presenting at the BC SUPPORT Unit Conference (#PPF17), November 2017


Themes for Projects

See the KT/IS Project Themes page for more detailed project summaries.

Summaries of Cluster Projects

1. Studying Consensus Methods in Integrated KT to Promote Patient-Oriented Research

Integrated knowledge translation (IKT) is an approach that involves including stakeholders, including patients, as equal partners in research teams so that results of the study are more relevant and useful. Unfortunately, there is little information about how consensus on decisions and priorities for service delivery, policy change and research, known as consensus methods, occurs. Although these consensus methods have become more popular in helping identify the needs and priorities of communities, there is limited understanding about which is the best approach and few resources to guide teams in how to use them. This project will (1) explore what works well for different types of consensus methods (2) compare two different consensus approaches and then (3) test two of the approaches (face-to-face and virtual) in all seven health authorities in BC. The results will help researchers and knowledge-users better understand how consensus methods can be used in IKT to ensure that the needs and priorities of communities can be identified and addressed.

2. A Hermeneutic Approach to Advancing Implementation Science

Changing health care is difficult. Many changes suggested by research are only partially implemented or not implemented at all. Often, research about implementation looks at only one innovation at a time, typically in a top-down manner. This project will study a ‘bottom-up’ approach that considers how health care research and innovation actually happen in rural and remote communities. The project takes an approach called hermeneutics. Hermeneutic research seeks understanding through the interpretation of meaning and language. The project will attempt to understand how knowledge is created and extended during implementation or innovation. The project team will summarize existing knowledge in this area. Next, the team will conduct interviews and observations to understand how knowledge is created and used to improve clinical practice or policies. The results of this study will show how learning and change occurs in everyday practice. It will help other research teams know about different approaches to studying implementation, especially in rural and remote communities.

3. Systems-Thinking Tools for Evidence-Informed Planning

Systems thinking is an approach to addressing complex problems. The assumption is that in order to solve a complex problem, all parts of the system in which the problem exists must be considered, as well as the ways they interact and change over time. For example, to understand how to reduce teenage smoking one must consider the effects of such things as peer pressure, tobacco advertising, teenage attitudes toward smoking, pricing of cigarettes, etc. as well as how these factors affect each other. Typically, a systems-thinking approach to solving problems involves researchers and specialized consultants. However, this unique project will create a user-friendly online set of systems-thinking tools that community groups can, independently, use to solve the complex problems that exist in their neighborhoods. The Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC and the City of Vancouver are partnering to develop and test this set of tools. This toolbox will then be available for other community groups to use.

4. Using Documentary as a Method of Knowledge Translation to Reach the “Sandwich Generation”

Documentaries are one way to learn about things that affect our health. However, it is important to make sure that they meet the needs of different types of audiences. For example, busy parents may not have time to watch a full-length documentary. They may prefer other ways to learn about how to keep their children healthy. In this study, we are identifying the best ways to share pieces of information from a documentary that provides detailed information about the effect of germs on children. Through in-depth interviews, we will explore what information parents and others need to make good decisions about protecting children (or not) from germs. In addition, we will find out how parents would like to get this information. The results of the study will be used to create new ways to share the information from the documentary. Also, the findings will help other research teams know how to share health information with the public.

5. Integrated KT 2.0 – Development of an Online Citizen Science Portal

“Nothing about us without us!” is a motto for patients as members of research teams. Recent advances in technology are creating new ways for the public to share their health data so that researchers can identify new and more relevant questions for research. This project, guided by the concepts of citizen science (the public participating in science), will develop a prototype (straw-dog) of an online app that will let the public share self-reported health data (e.g., questionnaires) and automatically recorded data (e.g., smart watches and wearable fitness trackers), as well as text data (e.g., patient stories). The goal is to generate patient-oriented research questions. The project will unite expertise from three Unit Methods Clusters: KT & Implementation ScienceData Science and Health Informatics, and Patient Engagement. Working with patient/public partners, the team will develop and test the prototype for future improvement.




Lead and Advisor

Linda Li
Lead: Dr. Linda Li

Dr. Linda Li is Professor, Harold Robinson/Arthritis Society Chair in Arthritic Diseases, and Canada Research Chair in Patient-Oriented Knowledge Translation at the Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia. She is also a Senior Scientist at the Arthritis Research Canada. Linda earned a BSc in Physiotherapy at McGill University, a MSc at University of Western Ontario, and a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at University of Toronto.

Funded by Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical epidemiology/knowledge translation at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Linda is currently a Michael Smith Foundation Health Research (MSFHR) Career Investigator, and a past recipient of the American College of Rheumatology Health Professional New Investigator Award, and the CIHR New Investigator Award.

To find out more about Linda Li, please click here.

Bev Holmes (1)
Advisor: Dr. Bev Holmes

To find out more about Bev Holmes, please click here.

Who to Contact

Knowledge Translation Specialist, Methods Clusters: Amber Hui