Translating research in elder care: an introduction to a study protocol series

Implement Sci. 2009 Aug 10;4:51. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-4-51.


Background: The knowledge translation field is undermined by two interrelated gaps - underdevelopment of the science and limited use of research in health services and health systems decision making. The importance of context in theory development and successful translation of knowledge has been identified in past research. Additionally, examination of knowledge translation in the long-term care (LTC) sector has been seriously neglected, despite the fact that aging is increasingly identified as a priority area in health and health services research.

Aims: The aims of this study are: to build knowledge translation theory about the role of organizational context in influencing knowledge use in LTC settings and among regulated and unregulated caregivers, to pilot knowledge translation interventions, and to contribute to enhanced use of new knowledge in LTC.

Design: This is a multi-level and longitudinal program of research comprising two main interrelated projects and a series of pilot studies. An integrated mixed method design will be used, including sequential and simultaneous phases to enable the projects to complement and inform one another. Inferences drawn from the quantitative and qualitative analyses will be merged to create meta-inferences.

Outcomes: Outcomes will include contributions to (knowledge translation) theory development, progress toward resolution of major conceptual issues in the field, progress toward resolution of methodological problems in the field, and advances in the design of effective knowledge translation strategies. Importantly, a better understanding of the contextual influences on knowledge use in LTC will contribute to improving outcomes for residents and providers in LTC settings.