Stakeholder engagement opportunities in systematic reviews: knowledge transfer for policy and practice

J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2008 Spring;28(2):67-72. doi: 10.1002/chp.159.


Knowledge transfer and exchange is the process of increasing the awareness and use of research evidence in policy or practice decision making by nonresearch audiences or stakeholders. One way to accomplish this end is through ongoing interaction between researchers and interested nonresearch audiences, which provides an opportunity for the two groups to learn more about one another. The purpose of this article is to describe and discuss various stakeholder engagement opportunities that we employ throughout the stages of conducting a systematic review, to increase knowledge utilization within these audiences. Systematic reviews of the literature on a particular topic can provide an unbiased overview of the state of the literature. The engagement opportunities we have identified are topic consultation, feedback meetings during the review, member of review team, and involvement in dissemination. The potential benefits of including stakeholders in the process of a systematic review include increased relevance, clarity, and awareness of systematic review findings. A further benefit is the potential for increased dissemination of the findings. Challenges that researchers face are that stakeholder interactions can be time- and resource-intensive, it can be difficult balancing stakeholder desires with scientific rigor, and stakeholders may have difficulties accepting findings with which they do not agree. Despite these challenges we have included stakeholder involvement as a permanent step in the procedure of conducting a systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation*
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Knowledge
  • Policy Making*