Complexity of Knowledge Translation in Community Engagement Research

Knowledge translation is an interactive process between knowledge producers and knowledge users, so understanding patients’ needs and wills are a key component in designing any knowledge translation strategy in the patient-based health research.

Researchers can go a step further and engage the patients in the process of conceptualizing the research questions. According to Kothari and Armstrong (2011), clinical settings have “curative approach” to health and community-based organizations have tended to have “prevention and health promotion” approach to care. This is just the difference between community-based organizations and other clinical setting in terms of defining “evidence”. In fact, the evidence for clinical setting is what to help to cure a patient, while the definition of evidence for community-based health organizations is what leads to prevent the disease and promote healthy life style. In addition, community organizations tend to work collaboratively with different stakeholders in different levels that makes designing KT strategies complicated and put many questions on the applicability of current KT strategies in the clinical settings for community usage. (Kothari & Armstrong, 2011). Furthermore, there is limited evidence for applicability of specific framework that had been developed for clinical behaviour change in the community-based organizations. (Kothari & Armstrong, 2011).  All these reasons make knowledge translation process more complicated for community-based organizations.

In other hand, there is lack of literature to guide researchers for engaging community in the process of research effectively, so Lavery et al. (2010) suggest a framework for an effective community engagement as “12 points to consider”. This framework includes identifying suitable site, early initiation of community engagement,, characterizing knowledge of the community, making research goals as clear as possible, providing information, establishing relationships o build trust, etc. (Lavery et al. 2010). Critchely et al. (2006) in a case study for developing an effective community engagement, confirm on “the effectiveness of an intense communication approach to determine pressing health issues in a rural community” (p. 75). In a systematic review by Lencucha, Kothari and Hamel (2010), they explore the research decision-making process in collaboration with community partners. Their systematic review supports that “personal contact” is “the most important facilitator of research” in community setting. (p. 61).

Therefore, in the  Knowledge-to- Action Process (Graham et al, 2006), community should be involved in both distinct processes of knowledge creating and action cycle. In the knowledge creation part, they should be questioned of what kind of knowledge they need, how they would engage with a new piece of knowledge, what resources they rely on to get information, etc.? Answers to those questions enable the researchers to choose their options smartly in the “knowledge inquiry”, “knowledge synthesis”, and “knowledge tools and products” in order to “tailoring knowledge” best fit for the community.  In addition, community members should be engaged and questioned in “adapting knowledge to local context”, “assessing barriers to knowledge use”, “select, tailor, and implement interventions”.

References:

 Critchley K., et al., (2006). “Engaging the community: a case study in one rural community and the knowledge translation process”. Journal of rural and Community Development, 2 (2006). Pp. 75-85.

Graham, I. D. et al.,(2006). “Lost in knowledge translation: Time for a map”, Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, Vol. 26 (1). Pp. 13-24.

Kothari, A. and Armstrong, R. (2011) “Community-based knowledge translation: unexplored opportunities”, Implementation Science, Vol. 6 (1). 59.

Lencucha R., Kothari, A., & Hamel, N. (2010). “Extending collaborations for knowledge translation: lessons from the community-based participatory research literature” The Policy Press, ISSN 1744 2648, pp. 61-75.

 

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