UBC Faculty Research and Publications

A mixed methods examination of knowledge brokers and their use of theoretical frameworks and evaluative practices Newman, Kristine; DeForge, Ryan; Van Eerd, Dwayne; Mok, Yan Wei; Cornelissen, Evelyn


Background: Knowledge brokering is a knowledge translation approach that includes making connections between researchers and decision-makers to facilitate the latter’s use of evidence in health promotion and the provision of healthcare. Despite knowledge brokering being well-established in Canada, many knowledge gaps exist, including understanding what theoretical frameworks have been developed and which evaluative practices knowledge brokers (KBs) use. Methods: This study used a mixed methods design to examine how KBs in Canada (1) use frameworks, models and theories in their practice and (2) how they evaluate knowledge brokering interventions. We gathered interview and survey data from KB practitioners to better understand their perspectives on effective practices. Our analysis focused on understanding the theoretical frameworks used by KBs. Results: This study demonstrates that KBs in Canada tend not to rely on theories or models that are specific to knowledge brokering. Rather, study participants/respondents draw on (sometimes multiple) theories and models that are fundamental to the broader field of knowledge translation – in particular, the Knowledge to Action model and the Promoting Action Research in Health Sciences framework. In evaluating the impact of their own knowledge brokering practice, participants/respondents use a wide variety of mechanisms. Evaluation was often seen as less important than supporting knowledge users and/or paying clients in accessing and utilising evidence. Conclusions: Knowledge brokering as a form of knowledge translation continues to expand, but the impact on its targeted knowledge users has yet to be clearly established. The quality of engagement between KBs and their clients might increase – the knowledge brokering can be more impactful – if KBs made efforts to describe, understand and evaluate their activities using theories or models specific to KB.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)