Category: Knowledge translation

A guide to Politics and Coalitions in the dance of neutrality in —contested policy making activities

Karin Ingold’s post explains the role of scientific knowledge brokering in coalitions  in Integration and Implementation Insights     In Ottawa, we have had various examples of this, be it the  Alliance to End Homelessness or  harm reduction networks.  I find it useful to reflect on Ingold’s point that suggests that the loss of neutrality in Adversarial advocacy results in, ” no possibility for knowledge brokerage exists.” and need to become “non neutral actors.”

What roles can science and scientific experts adopt in policymaking? One way of examining this is through the Advocacy Coalition Framework (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1993). This framework highlights that policymaking and the negotiations regarding a political issue—such as reform of the health system, or the introduction of an energy tax on fossil fuels—is dominated by advocacy coalitions in opposition. Advocacy coalitions are groups of actors sharing the same opinion about how a policy should be designed and implemented. Each coalition has its own beliefs and ideologies and each wants to see its preferences translated into policies.

via When are scientists neutral experts or strategic policy makers?


Some tools to help us think about implementing evidence in our practice

Health Evidence shares tools that guide practice evidence, developed in collaboration with local public health organizations.  While targeted at public health some of the tools provide useful approaches for emerging front line projects.

File:Garden tools.jpg

photo by: SpitfireTally-ho! / Spitfire at en.wikipedia

Looking for tools to help you find and use research evidence? Use the Health Evidence™ practice tools to help you work through the evidence-informed decision making process; search for evidence, track your search, and share lessons learned with your public health organization.

Example of tools:

See the current tools at their site here

Architecture to keep track of the big picture of health learning and the ensuing interventions

From the journal of Implementation Science,

…In this paper, we propose the use of architectural frameworks to develop LHSs that adhere to a recognized vision while being adapted to their specific organizational context. Architectural frameworks are high-level descriptions of an organization as a system; they capture the structure of its main components at varied levels, the interrelationships among these components, and the principles that guide their evolution.

Intersectionality explained

This paper shared as one of the resources was found by Vicky Ward, who was at the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum,


PUT SIMPLY: According to an intersectionality perspective, inequities are never the result of single, distinct factors. Rather, they are the outcome of intersections of different social locations, power relations and experiences.

paper by  Olena Hankivsky, PhD of 

see the paper here:

Charles Jennings shares his thoughts on “the myth of knowledge transfer”

 Spotted by Stephen Downes,  Charles Jennings shares his thoughts on “the myth of knowledge transfer”


During a meeting at Cambridge University around 30 years ago I was thoroughly chastised by a Cambridge academic.

I’d used the phrase ‘learning delivery’ when describing computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) approaches. CSCL was one of the hot pedagogical approaches of the day – when network-based learning was in its relative infancy.

“Charles, my dear fellow”, said the Cambridge man, “we may deliver milk, but learning is something that is acquired, never delivered”.

Of course he was right. I’d been sloppy with language. What I’d meant by ‘learning delivery’ was ‘providing the resources and environments that help learning and, by inference, improved performance, to occur’. Learning takes place in our heads. We alone make it happen.

I guess the phrase I’d used was a shorthand. However, it was the last time I ever used it. It conveyed an inaccurate message.

see the article here

… Exposure to other organisations’ experiences can also be very useful for our own organisation’s learning and development, but no two organisations are exactly the same. If we package up the acquired data, information and practices in one organisation it’s extremely unlikely that they can be simply unpacked and used as-is with the same effect in another, no matter how closely aligned the organisations might be. The ‘knowledge transfer’ model doesn’t even work between organisations in industries with relatively standardised process . What works for Mercedes is unlikely to work for Ford without quite a bit of thought and customisation.  …

If you had to classify every shirt as a single colour, what information would you lose about each shirt?

A 10 minute talk with Catherine D’Ignazio on, worth a listen,— in order to co-construct Data collection, to represent the limitations of data, being willing to visualize what is NOT THERE

 If you had to classify every shirt as a single colour, what information would you lose about each shirt?

Picture by (flickr CC/Ewan Munro)

We live in an era of unequalled amounts of data. The Big Data age. And the sheer volume of it can be overwhelming. But no worries, you can look at a data visualization, and it will clear it all up. There’s a graph, or a chart or an infographic! Each an objective distillation of reality, right there in pictures. Only, what if those visualizations don’t tell the whole truth?

Catherine D’Ignazio is an Assistant Professor of Data Visualization and Civic Media in the Journalism Department at Emerson College in Boston. She thinks that we tend to accept data visualizations as facts because they seem to present an expert and neutral point of view.

But Catherine says that the perspectives of groups like women, minorities and others can often be excluded from what we consider objective data about the world around us. Which is why, earlier this year when this episode first aired, she posed the question, what would feminist data visualization look like?

The Interview is here:

Practitioners in… knowledge translation

The Canadian Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Community of Practice (CoP) organized a recent conference focused on the practice with researchers and knowledge translators.  The presentation below lays out one team of Knowledge Translation’s practice: Evidence to Care – Supporting Knowledge Translation at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital .  The team is: Shauna Kingsnorth, Christine Provvidenza, Julia Schippke, & Ashleigh Townley 

The development and use of good evidence in practice is critical to both client care and the development and the legitimizing of innovations in our practice.  It is not simply what “gold standard” of evidence the research community has developed.  This quote  below from their presentation demonstrates the tensions between developing an evidence base vs. an evidence based practice.

“If we require a strong evidence base before doing anything, and there isn’t an evidence base, then we don’t end up doing anything. Where data isn’t that available, we are relying on experts. In this case, they were consultative with a range of experts…” – Funder

As front line workers are attempting to advance good care within our organizations there are significant struggles with capacity to lead practice change.  It seems our organizational systems are creating specific units to do so and while of course their prime directive is a collaborative one, I feel  there is an issue of precious resource deployment with differences between the reality of everyday practice– time and capacity, and the knowledge translation people who are now calling themselves,  practitioners. 

What is your experience with knowledge translation?

Below is sample content from this presentation:

The Excellent Care for All Act (ECFAA), which came into law in June of 2010, puts Ontario patients first and helps define quality for the health care sector, by reinforcing shared responsibility for quality of care, building and supporting boards’ capability to oversee the delivery of high quality of care, and ensuring health care organizations make information on their commitment to quality publicly available.

“Evidence-informed best practice Evidence-informed care is an expectation of all health care professionals in leading academic health sciences centres around the world; however ensuring that it happens consistently is not easily achieved.”