In 2007, the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR) commissioned the report, Knowledge Translation: Introduction to Models, Strategies, and Measures (Sudsawad, 2007) to provide an overview of the field of knowledge translation (KT). The report highlighted KT definitions and characteristics, as well as various models and frameworks prevalent at the time. The past decade has seen significant advancements in KT theory and practice that have led to a new generation of approaches and strategies for sharing evidence and for facilitating and evaluating behavior, policy, and organizational change, including a larger focus on implementation. The resulting magnitude, variety, and complexity of new KT evidence present challenges to many researchers and knowledge users (KUs) in making sense of and choosing approaches that are ideally suited for their needs. The Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, as NCDDR is now known, commissioned the present narrative review as an update of the KT literature. We reflect on advancements in KT practice generally, KT’s relationship with implementation science (IS), and its practice in the specific area of disability research.


A narrative review is best suited for summarizing knowledge about a topic and for distilling key findings in fields as diverse and broad in scope as KT (Green, Johnson, & Adams, 2006). We have focused on the literature published after 2007 relating to empirically supported definitions, conceptualization, and theories, models, and frameworks (TMFs) of KT and IS.

Report Organization

This report describes the field of KT and how IS has emerged to provide a focus on implementation. The first sections provide an historical overview of the KT field, highlighting changes in definition and the overall evolution of the concept and related methodologies. The next section describes the importance of stakeholder engagement, followed by a discussion of the advancement of theories, models and frameworks. The following section focuses on the rise of IS. Next, key aspects of the KT process are presented, including defining a KT goal, the fundamentals of KT planning, dissemination, and implementation strategies, and evaluating KT. KT advancements related to disability research are highlighted, followed by a look at future directions in KT.

Next page: Definitions of Knowledge Translation, Implementation, Related Terms