Engaging national organizations for knowledge translation: Comparative case studies in knowledge value mapping
1 Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer, University at Buffalo (SUNY), Amherst, NY, USA
2 Georgia Tech University, School of Public Policy, Atlanta, GA, USA
Implementation Science 2011, 6:106 doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-106Published: 12 September 2011
Government sponsors of research and development, along with their funded investigators, are increasingly tasked with demonstrating evidence of knowledge use by nontraditional audiences. This requires efforts to translate their findings for effective communication. For technology-related knowledge, these audiences include clinicians, consumers, manufacturers, public policy agencies, and knowledge brokers. One potentially efficient approach is to communicate research findings through relevant national organizations. However, this requires an understanding of how such organizations view and treat research knowledge, which can be determined through knowledge-value mapping. Do knowledge values differ between national organizations representing different audiences? Can a deeper understanding of knowledge values help sponsors, investigators, and organizations better communicate research findings to stakeholders?
A series of comparative case studies on knowledge-value mapping were derived through interviews with spokespersons for six national organizations. The semi-structured interviews followed a 10-item questionnaire to characterize different ways in which each organization engages with research-based knowledge. Each participating organization represents a particular stakeholder group, while all share a common interest in the research subject matter.
Each national organization considers the value of the research knowledge in the context of their organization's mission and the interests of their members. All are interested in collaborating with researchers to share relevant findings, while they vary along the following dimensions of knowledge engagement: create, identify, translate, adapt, communicate, use, promote, absorptive capacity, and recommendations for facilitation.
The principles of knowledge translation suggest that investigators can increase use by tailoring the format and context of their findings to the absorptive capacity of nonscholars. Greater absorption should result in higher levels of knowledge awareness, interest, and use, which can then be documented. National organizations and their members, in turn, can strive to optimize their absorptive capacities regarding the state of the sciences. This combination will ensure the highest possible return on public investment in research activities. This knowledge-value mapping study concludes that national organizations are appropriate channels for communicating research findings and for meeting statutory requirements and general expectations for generating and documenting knowledge use.