Some theoretical underpinnings of knowledge translation

Acad Emerg Med. 2007 Nov;14(11):936-41. doi: 10.1197/j.aem.2007.07.004.


A careful analysis of the definition of knowledge translation highlights the importance of the judicious translation of research into practice and policy. There is, however, a considerable gap between research and practice. Closing the research-to-practice gap involves changing clinical practice, a complex and challenging endeavor. There is increasing recognition that efforts to change practice should be guided by conceptual models or frameworks to better understand the process of change. The authors conducted a focused literature search, developed inclusion criteria to identify planned action theories, and then extracted data from each theory to determine the origins, examine the meaning, judge the logical consistency, and define the degree of generalizability, parsimony, and testability. An analysis was conducted of the concepts found in each theory, and a set of action categories was developed that form the phases of planned action. Thirty-one planned action theories were identified that formed the basis of the analyses. An Access database was created, as well as a KT Theories User's Guide that synthesizes all the planned change models and theories, identifies common elements of each, and provides information on their use. There are many planned change models and frameworks with many common elements and action categories. Whenever any planned change model is used, change agents should consider documenting their experiences with the model so as to advance understanding of how useful the model is and to provide information to others who are attempting a similar project.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Humans
  • Knowledge*
  • Models, Theoretical*