Evidence & Policy
A journal of research, debate and practice

Knowledge Brokerage: The Musical: an analogy for explaining the role of knowledge brokers in a university setting

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  • 1 University of Queensland, , Australia
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Background:

Knowledge brokers in higher education are described as requiring a broad range of skills and characteristics, leading to both role conflict and ambiguity. Although existing studies report broad concepts regarding the role of knowledge brokers, the activities that they actually perform to broker knowledge are not systematically reported or impact evaluated.

Aims and objectives:

This paper aims to summarise the current literature on the role of knowledge brokers and describe this role in a higher education context. In an exploratory study, as two knowledge brokers we recorded our activities within a school of health in a large university setting using the Expert Recommendations for Implementation Change (ERIC) categories over a period of nine months. Using this report, we use the analogy of a musical to translate the role of knowledge broker. Considering the knowledge brokerage roles of musical director, set designer, choreographer, costume designer and sound and lighting, we discuss the impact of knowledge brokerage activities on actors relaying their knowledge story to an end-user audience. Knowledge brokers in the higher education context primarily perform activities in four areas: know your cast and crew; train your cast and crew; rehearse and review; and provide hands-on support.

Key conclusions:

Understanding the role of knowledge brokers may be enhanced by using the analogy of a musical. Due to the diverse nature of these roles, it is recommended that knowledge brokerage in higher education is performed in teams, where knowledge brokers can utilise different skill sets to facilitate their work.

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