This guide was created by the Knowledge Exchange Office of the Women's College
Research Institute (WCRI) as a resource for all of the researchers in our
As women's health researchers, the ultimate purpose of our work is to improve
If our research is to achieve this, it must be relevant to women's lives and
communicated in a way that is meaningful to them. This central purpose can get
lost amid the
many professional and funding obligations placed on researchers. Indeed,
generally considered a wholly separate activity from dissemination and
The concept of knowledge exchange attempts to bridge these activities by
building dissemination and advocacy into the research process to increase
impact and to make it more relevant to the lives of the people who use it. WCRI
defines knowledge exchange as: "an interactive relationship between researchers
and research users that fosters the ongoing sharing of perspectives and results
and creates a research environment responsive to user needs and
contexts." This involves:
- Building relationships with stakeholders
- Building opportunities for interaction into the research process
- Sharing our work in ways that are meaningful and accessible to our stakeholders
While the concept of knowledge exchange has been embraced by many funding
researchers, and decision-makers, there is still much we don't know about it.
There is a
particular dearth of evaluation research in this field and consequently, we
understanding of precisely which strategies, conducted when, with, and by whom
effective in increasing research impact. This dearth is linked in part to the
of creating performance indicators in the field of knowledge exchange. For
successful knowledge exchange mean that researchers and decision-makers have
relationships with one another? That research informs decision-maker discourse?
research is applied exactly the way researchers think it should be? That it is
five years down the road when economic and political contexts are more friendly
While there is much that we do not fully understand about effective knowledge
research and experience to date has also shown us a lot about what integrating
exchange into the research process can mean. The following guidelines describe
what we know
about knowledge exchange throughout the research process. For each stage of the
process, a series of tips are listed with suggested resources you can access
The recommendations listed here are by no means definitive. There is a lot we do
understand about what makes some knowledge exchange efforts effective and much
of the success
of knowledge exchange is determined by the needs of research users and cannot
researchers. There is much room for innovation in this field as the specific
each research context most strongly dictate whether a knowledge exchange
strategy will work.
The suggestions listed here are intended to provide a jumping-off point for you
to think about
what might be effective in your own context. Combine the knowledge exchange
with your own knowledge, experience, and creativity to create a knowledge
exchange plan that
works for you.
- Starting Your Research
- During Your Research
- Research Dissemination
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