A thematic analysis of theoretical models for translational science in nursing: mapping the field

Nurs Outlook. 2010 Nov-Dec;58(6):287-300. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2010.07.001.


The quantity and diversity of conceptual models in translational science may complicate rather than advance the use of theory. This paper offers a comparative thematic analysis of the models available to inform knowledge development, transfer, and utilization. Literature searches identified 47 models for knowledge translation. Four thematic areas emerged: (1) evidence-based practice and knowledge transformation processes, (2) strategic change to promote adoption of new knowledge, (3) knowledge exchange and synthesis for application and inquiry, and (4) designing and interpreting dissemination research. This analysis distinguishes the contributions made by leaders and researchers at each phase in the process of discovery, development, and service delivery. It also informs the selection of models to guide activities in knowledge translation. A flexible theoretical stance is essential to simultaneously develop new knowledge and accelerate the translation of that knowledge into practice behaviors and programs of care that support optimal patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Evidence-Based Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nursing Research*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*