Top 10 Knowledge Translation Resources

Here at the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI), we are often asked for resources to help with knowledge translation (KT). After discussion with our KT experts, we present to you our Top 10(ish) resources to familiarize yourself with the field of KT, and understand its methods and evidence base. Bear in mind, the list is not exhaustive — but serves as a good starting point for broadening your understanding of the world of KT.


1. Knowledge Translation in Health Care: Moving from Evidence to Practice, 2nd Edition (2013) Sharon Straus, Jacqueline Tetroe & Ian D. Graham (Editors). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

We often refer to this book as the “KT bible”. Written collaboratively by a number of experts in various KT-related fields, it provides an overview of KT, related theories, models, and frameworks, and describes common barriers to doing KT. The authors provide tools for selecting KT interventions, case examples, and methods for evaluating KT interventions. Most importantly, this book is packed full of resources that you can look into further.

2. Knowledge Translation of Research Findings (2012) Jeremy M Grimshaw, Martin P Eccles, John N Lavis, Sophie J Hill & Janet E Squires. Implementation Science, 7(50): 1–17.

This paper provides an overview of systematic reviews on KT interventions, summarizing current evidence around KT activities with the potential for practical application. The article is structured around five key question that researchers should consider when developing KT strategies:

  1. What should be transferred?
  2. To whom should research knowledge be transferred?
  3. By whom should research knowledge be transferred?
  4. How should research knowledge be transferred?
  5. With what effect should research knowledge be transferred?

3. Knowledge Translation at CIHR (2010) Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR),

CIHR is a great go-to for a KT definition, a better understanding of end-of-grant and integrated KT, and the knowledge to action process. Also check out the CIHR’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.


4. Making Sense of Implementation Theories, Models and Frameworks (2015) Per Nilsen. Implementation Science, 10(53): 1–13.

In this paper, Nilsen proposes a taxonomy to distinguish between models, frameworks, and theories for implementation science. He creates and explains his five categories to guide implementation practice and facilitate selection and application of relative approaches for implementation. Though these concepts are similar, and have some overlapping qualities, being able to distinguish between them will make it easier to decide which is the most appropriate to use depending on the situation.

Note: for a quick read, check out our blog summarizing this paper.

5. Lost in Translation: Time for a Map? (2006) Ian D. Graham, et al. The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26(1): 13–24.

This is a great place to start if you’re just learning about KT. Graham reviews the terms and definitions used in the field and also provides a conceptual framework for thinking about the process of moving knowledge into action.


6. Scoping Studies: Towards a Methodological Framework (2005) Hilary Arksey & Lisa O’Malley. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1): 19–32.

This was one of the first studies to provide a framework for the methodology of conducting a scoping review. As systematic reviews are not always feasible or appropriate, this article proposes an alternative, and compares some of the differences between the two types of reviews. The article offers five stages (with an optional sixth) as a way to conduct a scoping review.

6 ½. Scoping studies: Advancing the methodology (2010) Danielle Levac, Healther Colquhoun & Kelly K O’Brien. Implementation Science, 5(69): 1–9.

Levac’s article builds on Arksey & O’Malley’s article, by adding to each of Arksey & O’Malley’s five (or six) steps for conducting a scoping review.

7. Realist Review: A New Method of Systematic Review Designed for Complex Policy Interventions (2005) Ray Pawson, Trisha Greenhalgh, Gill Harvey & Kieran Walshe. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 10(1): 21–34.

This article proposes an alternative synthesis method known as a Realist Review, which differs in that it reflects the social complexities that need to be considered for interventions. Realist Reviews mix theory, empirical evidence and focus on the specific context in which you are intervening. Pawson et al. provide steps to conduct the review, as well as some of the theoretical and practical limitations in conducting a realist review.

8. Designing Clinical Research, 4th Edition (2013) Stephen B Hulley, Steven R Cummings, Warren S Browner, Deborah G Grady & Thomas B Newman. Philadephia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

This textbook looks at clinical research through the whole research process, including finding a good research question and planning an efficient effective, and ethical design. It also has a helpful chapter on simple sample size calculations without getting too heavy into statistics. Although it is missing the last stages of the research process, like analysis, presentation, and publishing findings, there are other books that can help you with that.

9. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches, 3rd edition (2013) John W Creswell & Cheryl N Poth. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications Inc.


9½. Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research, 2nd edition (2011) John W Creswell & Vicki L Piano Clark. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications Inc.

The above are two useful textbooks if you are looking into basic qualitative research designs, and mixed methods approaches.


10. Writing implementation research grant proposals: ten key ingredients (2012) Enola K Proctor, Byron J Powell, Ana A Baumann, Ashley M Hamilton & Ryan L Santens. Implementation Science, 7(96): 1–13.

If you are writing grants or funding proposals, this is a go-to article that addresses the challenges of preparing successful grant applications for dissemination and implementation. Proctor et al. propose ten key ingredients you shouldn’t forget to include in your grant, and how preliminary data, background literature, and narrative detail can help strengthen the application.

Note: Check out our blogs (part 1 & part 2) for a summary of the 10 ingredients.


BONUS: Knowledge Nudge: All Things Knowledge Translation — Synthesis, Exchange, Application and Dissemination.

And of course our very own KT Blog — keep checking here regularly for all things KT. If you have a suggestion for a post, or want to write your own, comment below or contact us.

Have other key KT resources that we should know about? Let us know in the comments or Tweet at us CHI KT Platform

About the author

Gwenyth Brockman is a Research Assistant with the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation’s Knowledge Translation platform.

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