On April 23, Research Impact Canada published an article on their website discussing a GSL study on Knowledge Translation (KT) by GSL Associate Director Patrick Fafard and GSL Director Steven Hoffman, which was published back in February in Evidence and Policy.
In their article, Fafard and Hoffman discuss the factors that make up effective KT approaches that aim to inform public policy. They found that audience make-up, audience breadth, policy context and policy instruments are crucial factors:
Audience Make-Up: Effective KT for policy depends on engagement with more than a single decision-maker or even a small group of decision-makers.
Audience Breadth: Effective KT approaches that are solely focused on the health sector or, even more so, specialized public health officials, may prove to have limited effect on changing public health policy that depends on the support (or at least agreement) of policymakers outside of the health sector.
Policy Context: KT approaches need to be adapted for the issue’s policy context, especially characteristics of the policy network and broader policy advisory system they are intending to inform. For example, KT approaches that work well for vaccination policy may not be nearly as effective when the policy issue is the relationship between income inequality and health.
Policy Instruments: KT must adapt to the dominant policy instruments in a given policy domain. When the policy instrument of choice is regulation, KT for public health policy should look very different than when the policy instrument is communicating, taxing or spending. In other words, KT approaches need to reflect the requirements generated by the dominant policy instruments in a given area.