Population health research can generate significant outcomes for communities, while Knowledge Translation (KT) aims to expressly maximize the outcomes of knowledge producing activity. Yet the two approaches are seldom explicitly combined as part of the research process. A population health study in Port Lincoln, South Australia offered the opportunity to develop and apply the co-KT Framework to the entire research process. This is a new framework to facilitate knowledge formation collaboratively between researchers and communities throughout a research to intervention implementation process.
This study employs a five step framework (the co-KT Framework) that is formulated from engaged scholarship and action research principles. By following the steps a knowledge base will be cumulatively co-created with the study population that is useful to the research aims. Step 1 is the initiating of contact between the researcher and the study contexts, and the framing of the research issue, achieved through a systematic data collection tool. Step 2 refines the research issue and the knowledge base by building into it context specific details and conducting knowledge exchange events. Step 3 involves interpreting and analyzing the knowledge base, and integrating evidence to inform intervention development. In Step 4 the intervention will be piloted and evaluated. Step 5 is the completion of the research process where outcomes for improvement will be instituted as regular practice with the facilitation of the community.
In summary, the model uses an iterative knowledge construction mechanism that is complemented by external evidence to design interventions to address health priorities within the community.
This is a systematic approach that operationalises the translational cycle using a framework for KT practice. It begins with the local context as its foundation for knowledge creation and ends with the development of contextually applicable interventions. It will be of interest to those involved in KT research, participatory action research, population health research and health care systems studies. The co-KT Framework is a method for embedding the principles of KT into all stages of a community-based research process, in which research questions are framed by emergent data from each previous stage.
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