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  • Author or Editor: Vicky Ward x
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Knowledge mobilisers (people who move knowledge into action) face a number of challenges. These include making sense of diverse definitions, navigating through fragmented literature and identifying helpful models and tools. This paper presents a framework designed to help. Based on a review of 47 knowledge mobilisation models, it consists of four questions: Why is knowledge being mobilised? Whose knowledge is being mobilised? What type of knowledge is being mobilised? How is knowledge being mobilised? These questions and accompanying categories can help knowledge mobilisers reflect on, communicate and evaluate their aims and objectives, increasing clarity and understanding across the field.

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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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This piece is an encounter with a school which went wrong, but something was retrieved. It shows how it is important to factor potential failure into collaborative research. It is also about what happens when a team of artists go into a school and work together.

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The Poetics of Letting Go

This book invites the reader to think about collaborative research differently. Using the concepts of ‘letting go’ (the recognition that research is always in a state of becoming) and ‘poetics’ (using an approach that might interrupt and remake the conventions of research), it envisions collaborative research as a space where relationships are forged with the use of arts-based and multimodal ways of seeing, inquiring, and representing ideas.

The book’s chapters are interwoven with ‘Interludes’ which provide alternative forms to think with and another vantage point from which to regard phenomena, pose a question, and seek insights or openings for further inquiry, rather than answers. Altogether, the book celebrates collaboration in complex, exploratory, literary and artistic ways within university and community research.

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Background:

‘Embedded research’ (co-locating researchers within non-academic organisations) is advocated as a way of developing more effective services through better creation and application of knowledge.

Aims and objectives:

The existing literature on embedded initiatives has largely been descriptive. There has been less in the way of analysis, for example, disaggregating the components of such schemes, unpacking underpinning logics, or comparing the diverse ways in which schemes are instantiated. We aimed to explore the nature and organisation of such schemes in health settings in the UK, with the objective of providing a systematised means of understanding their makeup.

Methods:

This study uses a focused literature review combined with a systematic scoping exercise of extant initiatives. We assembled documentation on each scheme (n=45) and conducted in-depth interviews in twelve of them (n=17). Analytically, we focused on surfacing and articulating the key features of embedded research initiatives in relation to their intent, structure and processes. Findings were then tested and validated during a co-production workshop with embedded researchers and their managers.

Findings:

We identified 26 ‘clusters’ of peer-reviewed papers detailing specific embedded research initiatives, and we explored 45 extant initiatives. The initiatives were varied in intent, structure and processes, but we were able to surface ten themes representing common features: intended outcomes, power dynamics, scale, involvement, proximity, belonging, functional activities, skill and expertise, relational roles, and learning and reflection.

Discussion and conclusion:

The themes uncovered can be used as a framework for guiding further systematic and evaluative enquiry on embedded research initiatives.

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Background

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.

Methods

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.

Findings

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.

Conclusions

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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Background:

Embedded research involves co-locating researchers within non-academic organisations to better link research and practice. Embedded research initiatives are often complex and emergent with a range of underlying intents, structures and processes. This can create tensions within initiatives and contributes to ongoing uncertainty about the most suitable designs and the effectiveness of different approaches.

Aims and objectives:

We aimed to devise a practical framework to support those designing and cultivating embedded research by operationalising findings from an extensive study of existing initiatives.

Key conclusions:

The underpinning research on embedded initiatives – a literature review and scoping exercise of initiatives in health settings across the UK – showed that such initiatives share ten common sets of concerns in relation to their intent, structure and processes. We used these insights during a co-production workshop with embedded researchers and their managers that made use of a range of creative activities.

The workshop resulted in a practical framework (and associated web-based tools) that draw on the metaphor of a garden to represent the growing, emergent nature of embedded research initiatives and the active work which individuals and organisations need to put into planning and maintaining such initiatives. Each of the aspects is represented as a separate area within the garden using relevant visual metaphors. Building on this, we also present a series of reflective questions designed to facilitate discussion and debate about design features, and we link these to the wider literature, thereby helping those involved to articulate and discuss their preferences and expectations.

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The limited extent to which research evidence is utilised in healthcare and other public services is widely acknowledged. The United Kingdom government has attempted to address this gap by funding nine Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs). CLAHRCs aim to carry out health research, implement research findings in local healthcare organisations and build capacity across organisations for generating and using evidence. This wide-ranging brief requires multifaceted approaches; assessing CLAHRCs’ success thus poses challenges for evaluation. This paper discusses these challenges in relation to seven CLAHRC evaluations, eliciting implications and suggestions for others evaluating similarly complex interventions with diverse objectives.

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