Reflections on Knowledge Brokering Within a Multidisciplinary Research Team


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Abstract

Knowledge brokering (KB) may be one approach of helping researchers and decision makers effectively communicate their needs and abilities, and move toward increased use of evidence in health care. A multidisciplinary research team in Nova Scotia, Canada, has created a dedicated KB position with the goal of improving access to quality colorectal cancer care. The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-progress perspective on KB within this large research team. A KB position (“knowledge broker”) was created to perform two primary tasks: (1) facilitate ongoing communication among team members; and (2) develop and maintain collaborations between researchers and decision makers to establish partnerships for the transfer and use of research findings. In this article, we discuss our KB model and its implementation, describe the broker's functions and activities, and present preliminary outcomes. The primary functions of the KB position have included: sustaining team members' engagement; harnessing members' expertise and sharing it with others; developing and maintaining communication tools/strategies; and establishing collaborations between team members and other stakeholders working in cancer care. The broker has facilitated an integrated knowledge translation approach to research conduct and led to the development of new collaborations with external stakeholders and other cancer/health services researchers. KB roles will undoubtedly differ across contexts. However, descriptive assessments can help others determine whether such an approach could be valuable for their research programs and, if so, what to expect during the process.

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