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Health Policy. 2013 Feb;109(2):187-91. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.11.004. Epub 2012 Dec 8.

A critical second look at integrated knowledge translation.

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School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


Integrated knowledge translation (IKT) requires active collaboration between researchers and the ultimate users of knowledge throughout a research process, and is being aggressively positioned as an essential strategy to address the problem of underutilization of research-derived knowledge. The purpose of this commentary is to assist potential "knowledge users", particularly those working in policy or service settings, by highlighting some of the more nuanced benefits of the IKT model, as well as some of its potential costs. Actionable outcomes may not be immediately (or ever) forthcoming, but the process of collaboration can result in group-level identity transformation that permits access to different professional perspectives as well as, we suggest, added organizational and social value. As well, the IKT approach provides space for the re-balancing of what is considered "expertise". We offer this paper to help practitioners, administrators and policymakers more realistically assess the potential benefits and costs of engaging in IKT-oriented research.

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