Translating evidence into better sexual and reproductive health: how can we assess, improve, and institutionalize research use

Description: Organizations active in the field of sexual and reproductive health generally struggle to effectively translate research evidence into better policies and practices. Over the years there have been several initiatives aimed at overcoming these struggles. One such an initiative is the knowledge translation platform (KTP). Knowledge translation platforms (KTPs) can be seen as networks that actively encourage evidence-informed health-policymaking by organizing (research) priority setting exercises, developing policy briefs, and hosting deliberative dialogues. Several questions about the functioning of KTPs remain unanswered.

Firstly, the activities of KTP appear to result in intentions to act, but it remains unclear how deliberative dialogues and evidence briefs actually increase the likelihood of translation of the knowledge into policies and practices. Secondly, assessments of the ‘use’ of evidence often revert to quantitative ‘impact’ measurements. Such impact assessments generally assume that knowledge is a fixed product that can – relatively easy – be implemented or disseminated. Thence, they disregard the work required to make knowledge usable in local circumstances. We therefore aim to assess how ‘use’ can be conceptualized in terms of contributions to action. Finally, little is known on how to institutionalize KTP. KTP are often initiated by small groups of ‘local champions’, likely to be supported by international organizations and development partners. While this international orientation may help to establish KTP, it also makes them prone to budget shifts and diversion to external priorities. Besides, it could cause KTP to focus less on local institutionalization.

The current project instigated an interdisciplinary consortium that aims to asses, improve, and institutionalize ‘knowledge use’ in sexual and reproductive health. The project aims to unpack the three questions stated above and subsequently reconstruct the answers on these questions into methods and tools that support the translation of research evidence into action.

Involved Researchers & Departments:

  • Prof. dr. Roland Bal, dr. Rik Wehrens, Maarten Kok, and Robert Borst - Health Care Governance, ESHPM
  • Abla Amawi, Ali Almetleq, Anke van der Kwaak, Noor Tromp, Pierre Ongolo-Zogo, Moustapha, Martin Meremikwu, Ekpereonne Esu, Dachi Arikpo, Sylvia de Haan & Kathelene Weiss - External

Contact Info:

Countries Involved: The Netherlands, the Republic of Cameroon, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Global

Funding: NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development