Introduction to the Dissemination Toolkit

Rural health research will not have an impact on rural people and health systems if it is not accessible and valuable for diverse audiences, including health consumers, stakeholders, and policymakers at the local, state, and national levels. The World Health Organization refers to dissemination of health research as knowledge translation. Knowledge translation is:

A dynamic and iterative process that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically sound application of knowledge to improve health, provide more effective health services and products, and strengthen healthcare systems.

The emphasis of knowledge translation is to ensure health providers, consumers, researchers, advocates, and policymakers are aware of, can access, and are able to use health research findings to inform decision making. Differences among audiences make it imperative to know when and how to utilize various modes of dissemination for health research.

This toolkit aims to assist researchers with step four in the knowledge translation process, reaching their target audiences. By developing appropriate, timely, accessible, and applicable products, researchers have the opportunity to inform step five, a change in policy or practice. This toolkit provides descriptions for multiple modes of dissemination and includes discussion of the purpose of each product, which product is appropriate given the topic and audience, and how to develop each. Effective examples are also provided.

Knowledge Translation Process

Knowledge Translation Process figure

Original image of knowledge translation process came from