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Oral presentation at the Knowledge Translation Network conference in Banff, Alberta, October 2013
As our three year study assessing the built environment's impact on children's activity levels in Saskatoon drew to a close, we received a CIHR knowledge translation (KT) supplement to conduct additional activities and evaluate the project’s impact. With these funds we spent a year conducting workshops and public lectures, developed a website, blog and social media presence, published a fact sheet series, created a board game to teach people how to manage research projects, and produced several short videos. We concluded the year with an evaluation of the project's impact.
We use a five-step approach to integrated knowledge translation: identify stakeholders, engage them early, engage them often, conduct research they can use, and give them results they understand. This evaluation gave us our first comprehensive look at the impact of this approach, moving beyond previous anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness.
To evaluate our KT efforts, we surveyed attendees after events, and circulated our fact sheets to key informants to assess their clarity, usefulness and organization. We also hired an external evaluator to interview key informants about the study's impact, including the principal investigator and research staff.
We found that our ongoing engagement with stakeholders, and our use of plain language and storytelling when interacting with them, made our findings easier for them to understand and put into action.
The evaluation findings confirmed the power of our approach: one stakeholder commented that our team is “so engaged..[and] went out of the way to engage the public”; another mentioned that the project management activities gave her “a real hands experience in drawing a timeline for a research project….you’ve done a good job…Congrats.”
As we advance our understanding of the integrated knowledge translation, evaluating the impact of our efforts becomes increasingly important. Come learn from our experiences in testing out and evaluating a range of KT methods.
For more information, check out www.smartcitieshealthykids.com