Knowledge to Action Processes Through Communities of Practice

Knowledge to Action Processes Through Communities of Practice


  • James Conklin (Concordia University)
  • Paul Stolee (University of Waterloo)
  • Anita Kothari (University of Western Ontario)
  • Larry Chambers (Bruyere Research Institute)
  • Ken LeClair (Queens’ University)
  • Dorothy Forbes (University of Alberta)


  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Multiple Case Study of Planned Change in Ontario’s Health System

This project is being carried out by engAGE researcher, James Conklin, though not under the auspices of engAGE. This research study focused on knowledge translation processes within the Seniors Health Research Transfer Network (SHRTN) Collaborative in Ontario. The SHRTN Collaborative was a network of networks bringing together the more than 8,000 Ontario caregivers, researchers and policy makers. These networks sought to improve the health and health care of Ontario seniors by facilitating knowledge exchange through a library service, knowledge brokers, local implementation teams, collaborative technology, and Communities of Practice (CoPs).

Using a multiple case study design, the team conducted nine cases over three years. The project allowed the team to gain a comprehensive understanding of the knowledge-to-action (KTA) processes used by the CoPs in the SHRTN Collaborative. ‘Knowledge to action’ refers to the movement of research and experience-based knowledge between organizations or groups, and the application of that knowledge in ways that bring improvements to frontline practice. By examining the processes themselves and the roles that people play in these processes, this research generated new knowledge about the defining characteristics of CoPs operating in the health system, on leadership roles within CoPs, and on the nature of interaction processes, relationships and knowledge exchange mechanisms.The study ran from 2010 to 2014. 

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