We use the term Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) to encapsulate the efforts of influencing empirical knowledge, program delivery, government policy and educational practice. Usually the program focuses on increasing research use in education, but sometimes projects extend to other public service sectors such as health and child welfare.
This study explores KMb practices of SSHRC researchers across Canada.
This study used a survey to assess institutional supports for KMb as well as KMb practices of researchers.
Few institutional supports are embedded at the institutional level, and those that are often not heavily accessed by researchers. KMb levels by researchers remain modest.
There is capacity-building efforts needed for researchers and universities to be able to engage with KMb and increase the impact of their work with different stakeholdes.
Cooper, A., Rodway, J. & Read, R. (2018). Knowledge mobilization practices of educational researchers across Canada. Canadian Journal for Higher Education, 48 (1), 1-21 [70%, 20% Rodway, 10% Read].
Cooper, A. (2017). How are Educational Researchers Interacting with End-users to Increase Impact? Engaged Scholar Journal, 3(2), 99-122.
Funders are important drivers of priorities in research landscapes nationally; yet, little empirical work has compared their global roles in supporting and promoting knowledge mobilization (KMb). The purpose of this study is to increase our understanding of the KMb policies and practices of social science research funding agencies in OECD and BRIC countries. This study is based on similar work conducted by Tetroe et al. (2008) on knowledge translation activities in applied health funding agencies.
Our study provides an environmental scan of 39 Social Science Funding Agencies across 32 countries (Canada, USA, European Union, Australia, & New Zealand). We compared funders across 60 discrete elements organized by three major dimensions: (1) Conceptualizing KMb and Research Impact, (2) Requirements for researchers (At time of application, at end of study), & (3) Agency Initiatives (Funding, Services, Tools & Techniques, Linkage). We also explored how they evaluated the impact of their efforts. Spoiler alert: most don’t.
1) Rhetorical Commitment: Most funders (89%) show rhetorical commitment to mobilizing research as shown by their mission statements; however, very few have operationalized that mission through requirements for researchers or agency initiatives.
2) Lack of Clear Definitions: Only 8 funders (18%) had definitions of KMb or related terms; only 7 funders (13%) had definitions of research impact.
3) Modest Efforts in relation to Supporting KMb & Research Impact: Most funders (N= 34, 75%) scored less than 60% for their overall efforts to support KMb and research impact on the elements we explored.
4) Some Funders have Exemplary Efforts: Top scoring agencies including ESRC (UK) topping the list with a score of 95%, followed by SSHRC (Canada) and NWO (Netherlands) both at 83%, followed by Finland 72%, SSRC in US 67%, ARC (Australia) 65%, and DCIR (Denmark) 60%).
1) Need for conceptual clarity so that universities and researchers understand how to operationalize and implement KMb and research impact mandates
2) We need to move beyond a “fund and forget” model, with sustained and targeted funding for dissemination and translation efforts AFTER empirical research has concluded
3) More capacity-building, coordinated at funder level, is needed to help universities and researchers meet new demands especially relating to working with non-academic audiences.
4) Funders could play an integral role in advancing the Science of KMb through making greater investments in studies exploring the effectiveness of different KMb strategies and indicators
5) Funders could be the hub where the public finds research through databases, stakeholder targeted short summaries, and videos that are created and uploaded with final research reports.
Cooper, A. (2017). Coding Manual: Social Science Funding Agencies’ Support and Promotion of Knowledge Mobilization and Research Impact – An International Study. Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada: A RIPPLE Research Report.
Conference Presentations and Papers
Cooper, A., Shewchuk, S. & MacGregor, S. (2017). The role of Social Science Research Funders in the Rise of Global Impact Agendas. Paper presented at CSSE, Toronto, ON.
Cooper, A., Shewchuk, S. & MacGregor, S. (2017). How research funding agencies are shaping the research-practice-policy interface globally: An international study on the rise of research impact agendas. Paper presented at AERA, San Antonio, Texas.
Cooper, 2018. Summary: Social Science Funding Agencies’ Support and Promotion of Knowledge Mobilization and Research Impact – An International Study. Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada: A RIPPLE Research Report.
Full Report: Coming soon!
In progress – check back soon!
CITED, funded by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, creates KMb podcasts by blending the expertise of researchers, journalists, and community members to inform debates on important societal issues. This study investigated the tri-partite model of CITED (research-community-media) as mechanism for science communication with the public.
We conducted 16 semi-structured, 60-minute interviews with three groups involved in CITED: researchers, community members, journalists and the members of the production team using a common interview protocol to answer the following research questions:
1) How do different values of media, community members, and researchers affect co-creative processes of developing KMb products tailored for the public?
2) What are the facilitators and barriers to researcher-community-media partnerships?
Data analysis is currently underway. Check back soon!
Data analysis is currently underway. Check back soon!
Cooper, A. & MacGregor, S. (2018). Coding Manual: CITED – partnered knowledge mobilization between researchers and media organizations. Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada: A RIPPLE Research Report.
Conference Presentations and Papers
Cooper, A. & MacGregor, S. (2017) Leveraging knowledge mobilization efforts in the media: Creating partnerships between researchers and journalists. Paper presented at CSSE, Toronto, ON.
In progress – check back soon!
We have conducted two related studies to explore research impact indicators and metrics. The first explored research impact indicators in public service sectors, the second replicated this study to explore research impact resources for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Toolkits and Publications arise from both projects. The purpose of the first study was to uncover resources and indicators that researchers and non-academic stakeholders could use to improve their knowledge mobilization efforts.
Both studies used the a slightly modified conceptual framework and explored research impact indicators by country, field, sector, type, and agency. Both also used environmental scanning methods to uncover research impact resources, based on the CAHS (2009) process to create a preferred list of impact indicators for the health sector:
(1) Is there a “best way” (best method) to evaluate the impacts of research and are there “best metrics” that could be used to assess those impacts (or improve them)?
(1) An explosion of research impact resources have arisen in the past decade
(2) The UK had the most research impact resources, followed by Canada, USA, Netherlands, and Australia
(3) Very few tools available to operationalize this work (less than 9% in both studies)
(4) Only 15% of the resources included discrete indicators or metrics to assess impact
(5) Focus is on quantity over quality, and on academic publications over other forms of dissemination
Good: Increased focus on KMb and impact can increase collaboration and visibility of research
Bad: Narrow views of impact and metrics (like bibliometrics) that vary widely by discipline disadvantage some fields
Unknown: It is unclear what effect funding systems tied directly to performance on research impact assessments (like the Research Excellence Framework in the UK) will have in the long term
Shewchuk, S. & Cooper, A. (In Press). Research Impact, the New Academic Capital: An Environmental Scan of Research Impact Indicators and Resources for the Humanities and Social Sciences across 32 Countries.
The goal of this article is to provide a framework to help researchers think through which art forms might be appropriate to their research translation goals and what methods might assist them in tracing the impact of ABKT efforts. Our ABKT planning framework is organized in relation to four dimensions: (1) goals of ABKT with target audiences; (2) art form, medium, dissemination strategies, and methods for collecting impact data; (3) partnerships and coproduction; and (4) assessing impact.
We have collated examples from research studies—primarily from our context of Canada, where ABKT has been developing a strong presence—to demonstrate how ABKT is currently being implemented and how impact data is gathered in the hope that describing these examples will prove instructive for researchers to think about their own research projects.
We have not yet tested the use of this framework, but hope to engage researchers about its use in future work.
This framework can help researchers make their research more accessible and engaging using the arts!
Kukkonen, T. & Cooper, A. (2018). Four questions to guide arts-based knowledge translation. Blog post: Integration and Implementation Insights. Visit https://i2insights.org/2018/01/16/arts-based-knowledge-translation/
Kukkonen, T. & Cooper, A. (2017). An arts-based knowledge translation planning framework for researchers. Evidence and Policy. Advance online version available.
This study explores the literature on knowledge mobilization networks.
This study used a five-stage scoping review process to uncover 80 articles included in the final analysis.
We propose a model for understanding the organization and work of RPPs emerging from our review. At the core lies shared goals, co-production, and multi-stakeholder collaboration organized around three dimensions:
(1) Systems and structures: funding, governance, strategic roles, policy environment, system alignment;
(2) Collaborative Processes: improvement planning and data use, communication, trusting relationships, brokering activities, capacity building;
(3) Continuous Learning: social innovation, implementation, evaluation, and adaptation.
Our RPP model can be used to further study and/or build RPPs in K-12 education sectors.
This study explored 44 research brokering organizations across Canada.
This study used website analysis, and a tool to measure KMb efforts to map the research brokering landscape in education in Ontario.
This study contributes: a typology of brokering organizations, 8 brokering functions, and a paper comparing KMb efforts across four types of organizations.
The brokering functions can be used by organizations and researchers to plan their research brokering efforts.
Cooper, A. (2016). A tool to assess and compare knowledge mobilization efforts of faculties of education, intermediary organizations, ministries of education and school districts. Brock Education Letter, 25(1), 1-18. *While traditionally this journal is not peer-reviewed; this special issue was peer reviewed.
Cooper, A. (2014). The Use of Online Strategies and Social Media for Research Dissemination in Education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22(70), 1-27.
Cooper, A. (2014). Knowledge mobilisation in education across Canada: A cross-case analysis of 44 research brokering organizations. Evidence and Policy, 10 (1), 29-59.
Cooper, A. (2013). Research mediation in education: A typology of research brokering organizations that exist across Canada. Alberta Journal of Education, 59(2), 181- 207.