National Center for the
Dissemination of Disability Research

Specialized TA Services

Knowledge Translation (KT) Information Service

KT Topics

Evidence-based guidelines
Evidence-based technology
Evidence grading
How KT is different from D&U
Knowledge value mapping (KVM)
The KT process
Low/no cost modifications
Measurement of KT outcomes
Outreach to specific target systems
Research quality
Research registries
Research utilization
Stages of knowledge development
Standardized research reporting
Standards of evidence
Successful KT models and strategies
Systematic reviews

Following is a listing of topics related to the concept of KT. NIDRR grantees who want to know more about any of these (or other) topics. This list is not exhaustive and other topic suggestions are welcomed.

Evidence-based guidelines:
Evidence-based guidelines are systematically developed statements that are intended to assist consumers, practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders to make informed decisions about treatment or services in specific circumstances (adapted from Institute of Medicine, 1990).
Evidence-based technology:
KT includes the transfer of technology, particularly products and devices, from the research and development setting to the commercial marketplace to make possible widespread utilization of the products or devices.
Evidence grading:
KT involves the quality assessment of research studies and research evidence. Evidence grading is a systematic method for assessing and rating the quality of evidence that is produced from a research study, a collection of studies, a systematic review, or expert opinion (NCDDR, 2006).
How KT is different from D&U:
KT goes beyond dissemination and/or diffusion; it can be differentiated by its emphasis on the quality of research prior to dissemination and implementation of research evidence. It is an on-going and iterative process requiring active and conscious participation of both researchers and research-users (NCDDR, 2005b, 2006).
Knowledge value mapping (KVM):
A conceptual tool for discussing and understanding the role of scientific research as an intricate system of relationships among institutions, groups, practitioners, and consumers that give rise to social impacts.
The KT process:
The process of KT includes knowledge dissemination, communication, technology transfer, ethical context, knowledge management, knowledge utilization, two-way exchange between researchers and those who apply knowledge, implementation research, technology assessment, synthesis of results with the global context, the development of consensus guidelines, and more (CIHR, 2004 as cited in Sudsawad, 2007, p. 2).
Low/no cost modifications:
KT involves an effort to aggregate and critically assess studies in order to generate pools of evidence. Low cost/no cost modifications refers to specific modifications that could be made in the primary research activity, or in its reporting, that would facilitate inclusion of these studies in the evidence pool.
Measurement of KT outcomes:
Procedures and instruments for the collection and analysis of practitioners' use of evidence–based knowledge, “gap closure”, or consumer–related outcomes (i.e., student, patient, and economic) as a measure of successful KT implementation (NCDDR, 2006).
Outreach to specific target systems:
Identifying target systems can facilitate the KT process. Target systems are specific, realistically measurable consumer audiences in which the group, the commonalities bonding the group, and the context within which the group exists are all defined within a project's scope of work.
Research quality:
Quality research most commonly refers to the scientific process encompassing all aspects of study design; in particular, it pertains to the judgment regarding the match between the methods and questions, selection of subjects, measurement of outcomes, and protection against systematic bias, nonsystematic bias, and inferential error (NCDDR, 2005a). Quality research is necessary to obtain reliable and valid knowledge, particularly knowledge relevant to interventions, environmental adaptations, and products or devices.
Research registries:
Registries are systems for collecting and maintaining in a structured record, information on specific research projects, studies, documentation, results, and findings.
Research utilization:
Within KT, the uptake or implementation of research findings requires that such findings have been vetted and deemed "ready for use" by specific target systems. Some issues include utilization planning, utilization strategies, identifying utilization outcomes, and utilization measurement.
Stages of knowledge development:
NIDRR identifies three stages of knowledge development related to the types of objectives and end products that grantees are expected to pursue: (1) discoveries and descriptions; (2) theories, measures, and methods; and (3) interventions, products or devices, and environmental adaptations (NIDRR, 2006).
Standardized research reporting
Standardized research reporting frameworks help ensure that essential research information needed to assess quality is included in scientific reports, journal articles, and systematic reviews.
Standards of evidence:
KT has emerged in an era of evidence-based practice and knowledge, with an increased need for understanding of standards of evidence. Standards relate to quality of the research that develops the evidence, and issues such as rigor vs. relevance, quantitative vs. qualitative research studies, experimental vs. quasi-experimental designs, internal and external validity, replication, and generalizability (adapted from National Research Council, 2004).
Successful KT models and strategies:
Following are selected examples of KT models reviewed by the NCDDR (2005b, p. 2-3) and Sudsawad (2007, p. 3-9).
  • CIHR Model of Knowledge Translation (CIHR, 2004) looks at the overall KT process as integrated within the knowledge creation and application cycle.
  • Framework for Knowledge Translation (Jacobson et al., 2003) provides a process for researchers to increase their familiarity with and understanding of the intended user groups.
  • Knowledge-to-action (KTA) process framework (Graham et al., 2006) proposes a conceptual framework composed of knowledge creation and action for facilitating the use of research knowledge by a variety of target systems.
  • Lavis' Knowledge Transfer Model (Lavis, 2003) is often cited in reference to KT strategies (NCDDR, 2005b).
  • Ottawa Model of Research Use (OMRU) (revised) is an interactive model that views research use as a dynamic process of interconnected decisions and actions by different individuals (Logan & Graham,1998; Graham & Logan, 2004).
Systematic reviews:
A systematic review involves the application of scientific strategies, in ways that limit bias, to the assembly, critical appraisal, and synthesis of all relevant studies that address a specific clinical question (Cook, Mulrow, & Haynes, 1997). The quantity of systematic reviews produced in the disability and rehabilitation field seems to lag behind other fields such as medicine and education (Schlosser, 2006, p. 2).

KT Topic References

Bozeman,B., & Rogers, J.D. (2002). A churn model of scientific knowledge value: Internet researchers as a knowledge value collective. Research Policy, 31, 769–794.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). (2004). Knowledge translation strategy 2004-2009: Innovation in action. Retrieved September 9, 2006 from

Cook, D. J., Mulrow, C. D., & Haynes, R. B. (1997). Synthesis of best evidence for clinical decisions. Annals of Internal Medicine, 126(5), 376-380. Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

Institute of Medicine. (1990). Clinical practice guidelines: Directions for a new program. p. 38. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). (2006). Long-range plan for fiscal years 2005-2009. Retrieved January 2, 2007 from

National Research Council, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. (2004). Standards of evidence strategic planning initiative. Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

NCDDR. (2005a). What Are the Standards for Quality Research? FOCUS Technical Brief (9). Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

NCDDR. (2005b). What is Knowledge Translation? FOCUS Technical Brief (10). Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

NCDDR. (2006). Overview of International Literature on Knowledge Translation. FOCUS Technical Brief (14). Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

Schlosser, R. W. (2006). The role of systematic reviews in evidence-based practice, research, and development. FOCUS Technical Brief (15). Retrieved January 31, 2007 from

Sudsawad, P. (2007). Knowledge translation models, strategies, and measures. Unpublished manuscript. SEDL: Austin, TX.

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NCDDR is funded by
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
Project Number: H133A060028
U.S. Department of Education