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  • Author or Editor: Allan House x
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Transferring healthcare research into policy and practice is a messy and complex process that both policy makers and researchers can struggle with. A potential solution is to use individuals or organisations as knowledge brokers. Using a range of literature, this paper explains the theory behind knowledge brokering, identifies three models of brokering and explores the challenges of brokering. We suggest that clarifying these factors is a significant step towards planning well-designed and rigorously evaluated brokering interventions. We also suggest that a clearly defined theoretical framework could help us to find out more about how brokering works and its effectiveness.

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In the UK managers from multiple organisations are commonly tasked with collectively devising and implementing local health and wellbeing policies as a way of addressing increasing demand for healthcare. This requires them to create knowledge together but relatively little is known about how this occurs. This paper reports the results of research into how managers collectively create knowledge in order to address local health and wellbeing challenges.


We undertook a case study in three sites in England. Using statistical network modelling we identified clusters of actors and interviewed managers from heterogeneous clusters about their collective activities. We used interview and documentary data to construct accounts of collective knowledge creation.


Managers simultaneously work across stable bureaucratic networks and temporary taskforces in order to create and implement local health and wellbeing policy. They collectively create knowledge by enacting networks of relationships which enable them to share and build on routines and discourses and to reach out for new evidence, perspectives and skills. When creating knowledge, managers’ ability to draw on and harmonise alternative programmes of action and their willingness to collectively negotiate is more important than their managerial status or position.


Managers should be encouraged to examine and discuss their alternative programmes of action and to see these as a catalyst for rather than barrier to collectively creating and implementing local health and wellbeing policies, and should be supported and valued for their ability to harmonise conflicting programmes of action.

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Researchers are being strongly encouraged to incorporate knowledge translation strategies into their research applications, but there is relatively little clear guidance for them about precisely what this means or how they can achieve it. A previous paper published in this journal addressed those assessing research applications, but there is still a need for guidance aimed at researchers themselves. This paper sets out a proposed guide, which could help to fill this gap. The guide is based on a coherent and empirically based conceptualisation of the knowledge translation process. It encourages researchers to embed knowledge translation early in their research planning process rather than adding it on later. Because the framework sets out a number of considerations rather than ‘rules’, it affords researchers the flexibility, autonomy and creativity to produce a personally useful, coherent and workable knowledge translation strategy.

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