Besides the integration of knowledge users into the production of new action-oriented knowledge, other linkage and exchange interventions exist to facilitate the use of pre-existing research.

Educational Outreach Visits: a personal visit by a trained person to health professionals in their own setting. Its key principles include surveys of practitioners to determine barriers to appropriate practice and the subsequent development of an intervention tailored to address these barriers using simple messages.

Opinion Leaders: the degree to which an individual is able to influence other individuals’ attitudes or overt behaviour informally, in a desired way with relative frequency.

Knowledge Broker – The Canadian Health Services Research Foundation has defined knowledge brokering as “all the activity that links decision makers with researchers, facilitating their interaction so that they are able to better understand each others’ goals and professional cultures, influence each others’ work, forge new partnerships, and promote the use of research-based evidence in decision-making.”

Cognitive Cues – represent interventions to remind or prompt practitioners to take evidence-based action at appropriate times.

What linkage and exchange interventions can be used to positively influence knowledge use?

Engagement with knowledge users can take place at the outset of knowledge creation, stemming from the identification of a gap or need by a particular stakeholder. The principles of participatory research drive the interaction between parties including acknowledging:

  • that all parties possess knowledge and expertise that will improve the quality of the knowledge produced or its effective translation;
  • that the process is driven by the goals and needs of the knowledge users; and
  • that relevant stakeholders have the opportunity to be equitably involved at all appropriate stages of the process.

The participatory approach integrates knowledge translation within the knowledge creation process by ensuring that those who have identified the gap are themselves taking ownership of the process of bridging it. Key drivers of the participatory process include following the knowledge-to-action cycle and stakeholder self-determination; partnership stages include stakeholder engagement, formalization, mobilization, and maintenance.