Few well-developed instruments are available to evaluate the implementation and impact of knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) practices. However, some KTE evaluation instruments do hold promise. These are among the key messages stemming from a systematic review conducted by a multidisciplinary team led by Institute for Work & Health Associate Scientist Dwayne Van Eerd.
The systematic review was carried out because funders and policy-makers increasingly want to know that their research investments are making a difference. Yet the effectiveness of current KTE practices that aim to put relevant research into the hands of decision-makers and practitioners is not routinely or consistently evaluated—perhaps, in part, because valid and reliable tools for doing so are lacking.
Although no well-developed tools were found in this review, some tools show signs of being reliable, valid and able to measure changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among decision-makers and others being asked to implement research evidence. Van Eerd says,
The review team strongly encourages KTE practitioners and researchers to work together to develop instruments to evaluate KTE activities, with a focus on establishing sound measurement properties.
Van Eerd looks to the future.
There are opportunities for us to explore instruments to measure the success of KTE within the Institute, he states.
I can say that we’re looking into it.
The full report, as well as a summary that includes the list of promising KTE evaluation tools, is available at: www.iwh.on.ca/sys-reviews/kte-evaluation-tools.