Knowledge Synthesis Projects and Knowledge Translation Considerations: Patterns and Trends in a Specialized Research Centre

Authors: Sebastianski M, Bialy L, Thomson D, and Hartling L

Presenter: Dr. Meghan Sebastianski

Institution: Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT Unit Knowledge Translation Platform, University of Alberta


Knowledge synthesis (KS) is the cornerstone for evidence-based decision-making. Yet, KS activities will only have impact if accompanied by a knowledge translation (KT) plan including knowledge users and decision makers. 

DESIGN: Quality assurance of KS projects supported by a specialized research centre.

OBJECTIVES: Describe the KS projects we have supported to: 1) understand the supports required, maximize resource utilization, and build on lessons learned; and 2) identify opportunities and mechanisms to optimally integrate KT into KS processes.



We implemented a survey that gathered information on KT considerations, knowledge users, and dissemination. 



Response rate was 75.9% (63 of 83). Less than half of respondents (42.9%) indicated they had a KT plan. Various knowledge users were involved, mainly healthcare practitioners (54.0%), with only 14 studies (22.2%) identifying patients as knowledge users.  Review results were used for a variety of purposes and products, e.g. decision aids, clinical practice guidelines, coverage decisions, grant applications, and subsequent projects.


We have supported a large number of KS projects that have the potential to impact patient health outcomes; however, less than half had a KT plan. Among those with a KT plan, a variety of knowledge users were involved and a range of products have emerged with the potential to bridge the research-practice gap. Nevertheless, our data demonstrate that more work needs to be done to enhance linkages between KS projects and KT activities to ensure optimal impact on patient outcomes.


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