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Tuesday 21 April 2015

SHINE Journal Club

Evaluating the effectiveness of knowledge brokering in health research

This article is available pre publication on the Health Information and Libraries Journal website, see link below. It would be interesting to hear your comments on this and any thoughts relating to Knowledge into Action.

Elueze, I. N. (2015), Evaluating the effectiveness of knowledge brokering in health research: a systematised review with some bibliometric information. Health Information & Libraries Journal. doi: 10.1111/hir.12097 Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the effectiveness of knowledge brokering as a knowledge translation (KT) strategy used in promoting evidence-based decision-making, evidence-based practice or collaboration between researchers, health practitioners and policymakers.

Methods: A systematised review of literature was performed using MEDLINE (through ProQuest Dialog), PubMed and Scopus electronic databases. A search strategy was developed to identify primary studies indexed in these databases on knowledge translation that reported the implementation of knowledge brokering. Sixty-two titles related to knowledge brokering were identified from the search after the removal of duplicates, and 24 articles met the eligibility criteria following the review of the full text documents. The findings were then synthesised using a narrative approach.

Results: It was found that knowledge brokering has been an effective strategy for knowledge translation. Conclusion: Although this review shows that knowledge brokering has been an effective strategy for KT, it advocates for more empirical studies to compare the effectiveness of specific knowledge brokering approaches with others. It also calls for empirical studies to explicate the role of library and information science professionals in knowledge brokering.


  • Annette Thain replied on 21 Apr 2015 at 17:14

    Sorry I have lost the paragraphs when I posted the reference.

  • Charis Miller replied on 22 Apr 2015 at 16:15

    A few thoughts:

    - I liked the different definitions at the beginning and the idea of teams and organisations as Knowledge Brokers and not just individuals

    - A lot of what is described here is what we already do, but it's useful to think about it in these terms. it helps me to think about the bigger picture of what I'm doing

    - The article mentions several different professional groups etc. who broker knowledge - Is the type of knowledge brokering done by other professionals different to that done by us information/library people?


  • Iain Stewart replied on 25 May 2015 at 16:26

    It is a relevant article for me in my role as a knowledge broker for one of the units at Healthcare Improvement Scotland and also because of the national knowledge broker network toolkit that is being developed. Like Charis, I thought it was good at giving a definition and overview of what a knowledge broker is and what they do.

    The article showed the range of roles that are involved in knowledge brokers and the variety of settings they work in. This gave me a new insight in to what knowledge brokers are and what they do.

    It made me think about my role and I will be able to use it to plan some of the work I will do. I thought the reference list is also a good source of information about knowledge brokers and I will probably look up a few of the references to read. Thanks Annette for introducing the article.

  • Siobhan O'Brien replied on 4 Jun 2015 at 11:04

    Thanks both, agree that it was interesting to see a range of roles, and with Charis' question!

    Comments from the Knowledge Services discussion:

    Definitions quite useful, but based primarily in Canadian context but article admits that this limits scope as doesn't take differing terminology into account.

    Might be more interesting to see a study based on wider search terms that consider roles and skills required/demonstrated by KBs, so that Library and Information Professionals more present.

    Role of KB - although practice should be based on good evidence, you're not expected to find and work with all of that on your own - KBs exist to facilitate access to knowledge, whether in the form of evidence, people, etc. The article did raise interesting questions on the extent to which the knowledge broker intervention in itself shapes a research process however.

    Neutrality - practitioners and knowledge users noted as most effective KBs in these cases, despite a likely natural bias. Are there negatives to this bias? Also worth considering bias of researchers and funding agencies, as they are interested in furthering results of research. Possible a more in depth look at KB among Library & Info. Professionals would give insight to more neutrally placed KBs and possible benefits of this.

    Impact - Evaluating and measuring impact still a problem. Not keen on use of 'job productivity' as a measurement - feel our goals centre more around quality improvement. Also disagree that lack of uptake with policy makers indicates failure - in these cases the knowledge brokering process was still 'successful', merely reflects a lack of evidence based practice in policy. As most individual studies discussed were covered very briefly, the article didn't go into how the perceived positive impacts / changes were made. It would be nice to know what it is the KBs actually did that made the difference.

    Conclusion - quite a limited study, with definite scope for further exploration of terminology associated with knowledge brokering. Would benefit from widening scope to include library and information professionals, as well as methods of knowledge brokering as little to no exploration of how roles were fulfilled and comparable success of these methods.

    Implication for us - we should try to measure the effect or impact of our involvement in projects and publish it! We are offering some skill development opportunities to understand the role of librarians as knowledge brokers for knowledge translation and Knowledge into Action but maybe we should be influencing in a broader context e.g. HEIs?

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