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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Revisiting interaction in knowledge translation

Liane R Ginsburg1*, Steven Lewis2, Lisa Zackheim3 and Ann Casebeer4

Author Affiliations

1 School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J1P3, Canada

2 Access Consulting, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J1P3, Canada

4 Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Implementation Science 2007, 2:34  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-2-34

Published: 30 October 2007



Although the study of research utilization is not new, there has been increased emphasis on the topic over the recent past. Science push models that are researcher driven and controlled and demand pull models emphasizing users/decision-maker interests have largely been abandoned in favour of more interactive models that emphasize linkages between researchers and decisionmakers. However, despite these and other theoretical and empirical advances in the area of research utilization, there remains a fundamental gap between the generation of research findings and the application of those findings in practice.


Using a case approach, the current study looks at the impact of one particular interaction approach to research translation used by a Canadian funding agency.


Results suggest there may be certain conditions under which different levels of decisionmaker involvement in research will be more or less effective. Four attributes are illuminated by the current case study: stakeholder diversity, addressability/actionability of results, finality of study design and methodology, and politicization of results. Future research could test whether these or other variables can be used to specify some of the conditions under which different approaches to interaction in knowledge translation are likely to facilitate research utilization.


This work suggests that the efficacy of interaction approaches to research translation may be more limited than current theory proposes and underscores the need for more completely specified models of research utilization that can help address the slow pace of change in this area.