Family violence is a significant and complex public health problem that demands collaboration between researchers, practitioners, and policymakers for systemic, sustainable solutions. An integrated knowledge translation network was developed to support joint research production and application in the area. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which the international Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan (PreVAiL) Research Network built effective partnerships among its members, with a focus on the knowledge user partner perspective.
This mixed-methods study employed a combination of questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to understand partnerships two years after PreVAiL’s inception. The questionnaire examined communication, collaborative research, dissemination of research, research findings, negotiation, partnership enhancement, information needs, rapport, and commitment. The interviews elicited feedback about partners’ experiences with being part of the network.
Five main findings were highlighted: i) knowledge user partner involvement varied across activities, ranging from 11% to 79% participation rates; ii) partners and researchers generally converged on their assessment of communication indicators; iii) partners valued the network at both an individual level and to fulfill their organizations’ mandates; iv) being part of PreVAiL allowed partners to readily contact researchers, and partners felt comfortable acting as an intermediary between PreVAiL and the rest of their own organization; v) application of research was just emerging; partners needed more actionable insights to determine ways to move forward given the research at that point in time.
Our results demonstrate the importance of developing and nurturing strong partnerships for integrated knowledge translation. Our findings are applicable to other network-oriented partnerships where a diversity of stakeholders work to address complex, multi-faceted public health problems.