Knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) is becoming an area of research interest in Australia. Decision-makers are increasingly considering how they can engage with a range of sources of evidence. Consequently, calls for new research are accompanied with a need to plan research and produce findings that are relevant and useful to policy and practice.
For many researchers the skills and knowledge required for KTE are developed throughout their careers. This, more often than not, can be by a ‘trial and error’ process. For Australian researchers, there are currently few opportunities for training and support for their KTE efforts.
The Public Health Insight team have been working in the knowledge translation field for more than a decade. We have developed training to support decision-makers make evidence-informed decisions and have worked closely with governments and NGO’s to understand their evidence needs.
In 2014, we embarked on developing a new training course – one specifically designed for researchers. We wanted to understand what training public health researchers were looking for, what training was being conducted internationally and what core components a KT training package would need to comprise.
After examining the literature and looking at other courses, we spoke with a number of mid to senior researchers. A number of themes quickly emerged from our research and these themes have been used to develop a framework and shape the content for our course.
The course aims to:
- Provide practical KT frameworks and enable researchers to implement the frameworks within the research plans and design
- Build understanding and skills to support researchers’ efforts to develop meaningful and reciprocal relationships with policy and practice decision-makers/end-users
- Provide researchers with skills and strategies for effectively communicating research methods and findings to non-academic audiences
In November, we ran a half-day “taster” event as part of the NHMRC Research Translation conference. There was substantial interest, with the course completely subscribed with a waiting list. The morning was divided into three components each involving a mixture of presentations and group-based discussions.
Highlights of the session included:
- Dr Rebecca Armstrong who discussed the theory of KT and how KT frameworks can be applied to research.
- Professor Liz Waters and Kellie Horton (VicHealth) who discussed creating and working in partnership, from both research and policy/funders perspectives.
- Jane Martin (Obesity Policy Coalition) who discussed her top tips for communicating research findings to policy makers.
Feedback from the day was incredibly positive and provided important feedback for improving the course. We look forward to running more courses on both KT4Researchers and Evidence-informed Decision-Making in 2015.