Integrated Knowledge Translation Guiding Principles for Conducting and Disseminating Spinal Cord Injury Research in Partnership

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Apr;102(4):656-663. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2020.09.393. Epub 2020 Oct 28.


Objective: To address a gap between spinal cord injury (SCI) research and practice by rigorously and systematically co-developing integrated knowledge translation (IKT) guiding principles for conducting and disseminating SCI research in partnership with research users.

Design: The process was guided by the internationally accepted The Appraisal of Guidelines for REsearch & Evaluation (AGREE) II Instrument for evaluating the development of clinical practice guidelines.

Setting: North American SCI research system (ie, SCI researchers, research users, funders).

Participants: The multidisciplinary expert panel (n=17) and end users (n=35) included individuals from a North American partnership of SCI researchers, research users, and funders who have expertise in research partnerships.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Clarity, usefulness, and appropriateness of the principles.

Results: Data regarding 125 principles of partnered research were systematically collected from 4 sources (review of reviews, scoping review, interviews, Delphi consensus exercise). A multidisciplinary expert panel held a 2-day meeting to establish consensus, select guiding principles, and draft the guidance. The panel reached 100% consensus on the principles and guidance document. The final document includes a preamble, 8 guiding principles, and a glossary. Survey data showed that the principles and guidance document were perceived by potential end users as clear, useful, and appropriate.

Conclusions: The IKT Guiding Principles represent the first rigorously co-developed, consensus-based guidance to support meaningful SCI research partnerships. The principles are a foundational tool with the potential to improve the relevance and impact of SCI research, mitigate tokenism, and advance the science of IKT.

Keywords: Consensus; Rehabilitation; Spinal cord injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consensus*
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*