A scoping review of the use of theory in studies of knowledge translation

Can J Occup Ther. 2010 Dec;77(5):270-9. doi: 10.2182/cjot.2010.77.5.3.


Background: Advancing the science of knowledge translation (KT) in occupational therapy is critical. Explicit application of theory can advance this science; yet, how theory is applied and the degree to which it can guide research remain poorly defined.

Purpose: To understand how theory is applied within KT research.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted to examine and summarize the extent, range, and nature of the application of three specific KT theories: Diffusion of Innovations, Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services framework, and Theory of Planned Behaviour.

Findings: Theory use was seen most frequently in medicine and nursing. Only 3 of 90 articles were in rehabilitation. Five approaches to theory application were found, the most common being the use of to predict success of KT (57/90).

Implications: In-depth study of the importance and methods of theory application in KT research is needed, in particular in occupational therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods*