KMb Journal Club / Le comité de lecture de la MdC

Every month, David Phipps (RIR-York) reviews a different academic journal article related to knowledge mobilization and posts his review, along with questions, on the ResearchImpact – Réseau Impact Recherche Journal Club page of our O3 space. Here is a summary of this month’s Journal Club entry.

Chaque mois, David Phipps (RIR-York) rend compte d’un article qui, paru dans un périodique universitaire, traite de la mobilisation des connaissances. Son compte rendu, accompagné de questions, est affiché sur la page Club de lecture du Réseau Impact Recherche/ResearchImpact Journal Club, dans notre espace O3. Voici un résumé de la lecture du mois.

This month’s article

Amo, C. (2007). Conceptualizing research impact: The case of education research. The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 22(1), 75-98.

Article abstract

This qualitative study aims at conceptualizing research impact generally by studying the specific case of research impact in the field of education. An analysis process akin to grounded theory was applied to the analysis of sections of reports provided by educational researchers. Literature on the subject of research impact was used to substantiate and complete the portrait of educational research impact that emerged from the data. The resulting conceptual framework proposes five interdependent stages, each one characteristic of certain categories of research impact that are typically interrelated in time and in terms of researcher control. It is hoped that this conceptual framework will help program evaluators and researchers tackle the larger task of uncovering and arguing the meaningfulness of alternative ways of measuring the impacts of research in the social sciences and humanities.

David’s full review of this article and his questions for knowledge brokers is available at Read the article and post your comments on the Journal Club page!

The International School of Research Impact Assessment, Barcelona, September 15-19 / The International School of Research Impact Assessment, Barcelone, du 15 au 19 septembre

The International School of Research Impact Assessment will be held in Barcelona, Spain, on September 15-19, 2013. Kathryn Graham, a co-organizer of the five day school, shares some information about this exciting event in this guest post.

La première rencontre de « l’École internationale d’évaluation de l’impact de la recherche » a eu lieu à Barcelone, en Espagne, du 15 au 19 septembre 2013. Notre blogueuse invitée, Kathryn Graham, coorganisatrice de l’événement, nous renseigne ici sur cet atelier de cinq jours qui s’est avéré très stimulant.

There’s an increasing demand from governments and funding agencies to not only demonstrate the impact of their research investments but to optimize or get the most value out of those investments, particularly when taxpayer dollars are involved. This demand, in turn, requires skilled people to assess the impact or returns on investment.

Picture of a cartoon man scratching his head with a question mark appearing above his headOften, beleaguered research and program managers are the ones tasked to assess these impacts. But it’s a case of the demand for impact assessment outstripping the capacity for delivery. And there’s no formal school for this kind of training in the traditional academic setting.

This need was the inspiration for the creation of the first International School of Research Impact Assessment. The School will build capacity by teaching and equipping program, research and evaluation managers to deliver on the demand. It will provide the best advice, evidence and tools to assess the returns of investment, aka impact. The school is unique because it is international, practical (participants will walk away with a plan), broad in approach, high quality (roster of international experts as speakers and teachers), and a focus on impact. Although the focus will be on biomedicine, the knowledge gained will be applicable to other disciplines. Participants will come in with the needs of their own programs, which will span research activity across fields and sectors, and emerge with plans tailored to help their own organizations.

So who are we hoping will attend? All those who work in knowledge translation and program management in research and development for government, research funding organizations, academia, not-for-profits, industry or health industry.

Logo for The International School on Research Impact AssessmentAnd what can participants hope to gain? The goal of the curriculum is for participants to gain a broad knowledge of the “science of science”; develop and enhance skills for the planning and development of assessment studies, and understand how best to report and implement research impact assessments. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to network and exchange best practices with peers from around the world.

We encourage anyone struggling or succeeding in the area of research impact assessment to apply by May 31. And for more information on how the five days will unfold, please see the Preliminary Programme.

See you in Spain!

Kathryn Graham, PhD,  Co-organizer

Jonathan Grant, PhD,  Scientific Director

Paula Adams, PhD,  Coordinating Director

Using Research to Influence Family Services and Policies

The following was first published on Centre for Research on Families and Relationships’ (CRFR) blog and is reposted here with permission.
CRFR co-director Sarah Morton and colleagues Sandra Nutley (Director of the Research Unit for Research Utilisation, and David Phipps (Director of Research Servics & Knowledge Exchange at York University, Canada) offer seven lessons, and associated challenges, to improve how research is used in policy and practice in a recent article in the new journal Families Societies and Relationships.
  1. Set realistic ambitions and expectations: Research is one form of knowledge that policy makers and practitioners will be using, but it is rare for research to have the definitive word.
  2. Improve research strategies to ensure they address relevant issues and expand our knowledge base rather than unwittingly replicate existing studies. Reviewing research and evaluation processes helps to ensure that research responds to relevant issues and address the main knowledge gaps.
  3. Shape – as well as respond to – policy and practice debates: Take up opportunities to influence policy and practice debates when they appear, – rather than waiting for opportunities to open up, work with advocacy organisations to raise issues of concern and get debates going.
  4. Create dialogue around research by pulling together different perspectives: Research on its own does not create change, but it can influence it. Encourage dialogues between people that recognises research needs to interact with practice experience and tacit knowledge.
  5. Recognise the role of dedicated knowledge broker organisations and networks: There are increasing numbers of knowledge broker organisations and networks who can help to facilitate the creation, sharing and application of research-based knowledge.
  6. Target multiple audiences to increase the reach and impact of your message: Disseminate research findings into wider political and public debate, alongside more targeted approaches. This might be targeting influential people, participating in media debates, speaking at policy and practice conferences and seminars or responding to consultation processes.
  7. Evaluate, learn, improve: Knowledge exchange is still an immature discipline; only through improved evaluation and learning will our understanding of effective strategies develop over time.
Don’t forget that challenges remain:

How to Assess the Impact of Your Research / Comment mesurer l’impact de votre recherche

Michael Johnny, RIR-York

Impact has become a significant component of the research cycle but how does one actually do this?  Dr. Sarah Morton from the University of Edinburgh offers a one-day workshop with methodologies to assess the impact of your research.

L’impact est devenu un aspect très important du cycle de la recherche, mais comment doit-on procéder pour le mesurer? La professeure Sarah Morton de l’Université d’Édimbourg offre un atelier d’une journée au cours duquel sont présentées des méthodologies permettant de mesurer l’impact de vos recherches.

David Phipps of York University (@researchimpact) has recently written about Knowledge Hypocrites.  Well, I for one am taking action (sort of).  I wouldn’t exactly call myself a bookworm, but I am taking opportunity to learn from other professionals to help inform my practice.  Perhaps not a direct solution to David’s point, but I am happy about opportunities to learn from leaders in KMb from Canada and internationally.

A recent post shared my experience attending a workshop from Peter Levesque of Knowledge Mobilization Works.  The following week I attended a day-long session led by Sarah Morton (recently Dr. Sarah Morton) of the University of Edinburgh, Co-Director Communication and Knowledge Exchange within the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.  The topic of Sarah’s workshop was how to assess the impact of your research.

I was one of 12 present and felt I was in a unique position, whereas I am not directly involved in or leading a research project, but play a brokering role in developing research projects.  For the purposes of the workshop I used York University’s partnership with the United Way of York Region as an example (we are piloting a community knowledge broker role).  For me, in my experience, impact is misunderstood with outcomes, or even outputs.  So it was refreshing (and validating) for me to hear Sarah speak about a process of inputs, activities, uptake, use and impact.

The significant takeaway for me was a mapping exercise which will help me working with university researchers in developing knowledge mobilization plans.  In Sarah’s research and experience, embarking on a process of examining potential assumptions and risks around the process listed above can actually help determine potential indicators around impact.  Unlocking a procedure to support this process will help me in my brokering work.  The fact that I can employ the tools and not have to read Sarah’s dissertation makes my life somewhat easier.  Can I declare myself hypocrisy-free?  No, not yet, but I do prefer this active process of knowledge exchange.  My thanks to Sarah for sharing her research and methodologies to further unpack the notion of impact in research.

Toward a Culture of KMb? / Vers une culture de mobilisation des connaissances

Michael Johnny, RIR-York

Staff within York’s KMb Unit are not the only people talking about KMb at York.  Based on our recent experience, there are many faculty and students who are engaged in KMb activity. 

Les employés de l’unité de Mobilisation des Connaissances (MdC) de York ne sont pas les seuls à parler de MdC à York. À la lumière de nos récentes expériences, beaucoup de professeurs et  d’étudiants sont engagés dans des activités de MdC.

One of the early strategic objectives for our work at York University in Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) was to help build a research culture; this was one of the university’s priority areas.  And while priorities may change, no one will argue this does not remain important.  However, what about building a culture of knowledge mobilization?  While I allow you a moment to reflect on that suggestion, I would like to share with you a brief summary from four distinct events which took place March 19 and 20, 2012.

Sustainability Energy Initiative – Monday, March 19, 2012 – Seminar Series – New Research in Sustainable Energy  – The Faculty of Environmental Studies, Sustainable Energy Initiative has been established to build and strengthen the teaching, research and partnerships needed to create new green energy economies in Canada and around the world.  The connection to KMb was made explicit by Prof. Jose Etcheverry in his introductory comments, stating SEI is “trying to mobilize knowledge, taking a quantum lead toward sustainable energy”.  The approximate 50 people present represented research, community and advocacy interests and had probing questions for Prof. Mark Winfield and the three recent MES graduates who spoke on their research in areas of sustainable energy.  Prof. Etcheverry, in his role as facilitator, did a masterful job in seeking connections from research to areas of public policy and professional practice.

York School of Social Work – Tuesday, March 20, 2012 – World Social Work Day – York faculty within the School of Social Work participated in an international conversation around social work engagement which was facilitated by a Stanford Social Innovation Review webinar.  Faculty and students within the School of Social Work have a logical and extensive engagement piece associated to their scholarship, and the web cast, “Channeling Change – Making Collective Impact Work” provided some interesting conversation points for the approximate 20 people including community members of the TD Centre for Community Engagement who assembled in the Kinsmen Building to participate.  York’s David Phipps led a conversation for the faculty, graduate students and community leaders who were present.  Knowledge Mobilization practices and processes were central to the conversation, and it was a provocative question to pass to the group, “Does York need to break silos and speak on issues with one voice around engaged scholarship?”.

Faculty of Education – Tuesday, March 20, 2012 – Research Support Series – Three York faculty spoke to a small but engaged group about Knowledge Co-creation and Knowledge Mobilization.  Profs. Jennifer Hyndman, Rick Bello and Steve Gaetz spoke about their experiences with engaged scholarship.  Having faculty share their experiences around this is significant given the commitment the university had made in this area as evident by the recent Provostial White Paper  “Towards a more engaged university”.

United Way York Region – Tuesday, March 20, 2012 – Meeting House – Part of an ongoing series of community engagement around issues relating to social infrastructure in York Region, United Way York Region (and partner in the delivery of KMb) hosted a meeting for residents in Vaughan.  These meetings (there are two more planned in Markham and Richmond Hill, and two had already taken place in East Gwillimbury and Newmarket) are helping inform a regional summit on social infrastructure in Fall 2012, and York Research and KMb plan to participate.  Such consultation and capacity building is an important first step to engage in KMb.

This two day window of time reflects the extent to which KMb has become a significant part of research culture.  It is worth noting that this reflects three faculties at York seeking to engage the broader York community around issues of KMb.  The KMb Unit has never, nor will it ever, hold proprietary ownership over processes of KMb and we are pleased that we were only audience members contributing to and celebrating KMb success without having to own it.  In these three York events, similar to the event hosted by our community partner, we serve as a resource to support and help amplify the work in KMb which is ongoing throughout the university.

A culture of KMb?  Safe to say we’re well on our way to achieving this! Stay tuned as we develop a regular series profiling engaged scholarship and KMb at York University.

Two Steps Forward for KMb at UQAM / Deux pas en avant pour la mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) à l’UQAM

Luc Dancause and Jérôme Elissalde (RIR – UQAM)

Mobilize This! first published this post in French on September 13, 2011.  We re-publish it here translated into English.

In 2011-2012, almost 200 new researchers will join UQAM. In an effort to provide more support to these newcomers regarding knowledge mobilization, UQAM is launching a new website and a researcher’s guide.

Au cours de la période 2010-2012, l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) accueille près de 200 nouveaux chercheurs. Dans une optique de mobilisation des connaissances, l’UQAM lance coup sur coup un nouveau site et un guide destinés à mieux soutenir les chercheurs dans leurs activités.

Building on the excitement of the back-to-class period, the Office of Research and Creativity( Service de la recherche et de la création or SRC) introduced two new tools that will prove useful in the future. First, the SRC launched its new website. The content of the site has been completely restructured and expanded with the goal of making it an indispensable and user-friendly tool for the entire research and creative community at UQAM. From this site, researchers can find all the resources and information they need to manage their research and creative projects.

In a second step, the SRC collaborated with colleagues in the Office of Partnerships and Innovation Support (Service des Partenariats et du Soutien à l’Innovation or SEPSI) to launch the first version of a guide entitled “Guide to Research and Creativity at UQAM: Tools and Resources to Ensure Your Projects Succeed.” This document is a tool to help researchers find their way amongst the many support services offered at UQAM during the many stages of a project, from the early stages of funding, right through to the eventual mobilization of knowledge. Designed primarily as an electronic document, the guide will evolve according to the needs of researchers at UQAM.

From the perspective of knowledge mobilization, the launch of both products allows UQAM to remind researchers that a wide range of support services is already available on campus. The Office of the Vice-President, Research and Creativity, has also implemented a program to support the mobilization of knowledge, bringing together professionals from the SRC, SEPSIS and the Office of Service to the Community (Service aux collectivités or SAC) to both improve KMb services and make them more accessible.

The program to support knowledge mobilization at UQAM provides:

  • Consultation on the use of knowledge (knowledge dissemination, transfer, etc.);
  • Identification of opportunities (for funding, partnerships, etc.); and
  • Support for the development of partnerships and collaborations

In a future MobilizeThis! post, we will take you behind the scenes to the process we undertook in developing the “Guide to Research and Creativity at UQAM: Tools and Resources to Help Your Projects Succeed,”  which was itself an interesting experience in knowledge mobilization within our university.

KMb Journal Club / Le comité de lecture de la MdC

The ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche journal club is a new web feature that will make KMb related academic research accessible to knowledge brokers.

Le comité de lecture de ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche est une nouvelle initiative en ligne qui va rendre la recherche académique sur la mobilisation des connaissances accessible aux courtiers de connaissances

What were you doing on April 30, 2010? It was a Friday and that day we posted the results of our web survey. Our respondents gave us great feedback and we have acted on some of those by adding to our KMb in Action and introducing Delicious KMb bookmarks of KMb associated web sites. We know that finding information on KMb is one of the top two reasons people come to the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche website.

We are now pleased to introduce a new feature to our web services to help our stakeholders get KMb related information – the KMb Journal Club.

We have previously written that knowledge brokers need to practice what they preach and seek out KMb evidence on which to base their KMb practice. The trouble is, like so many of our community partners, we lack the time to seek out, digest, evaluate and apply research to our own situations. The journal club will present a summary of KMb related academic journal articles in a standard format that will make KMb research accessible to KMb practitioners. This won’t be a researcher’s perspective.

Each journal club will be presented with the following sections:

  1. Article reference
  2. url if the article is open access
  3. Abstract
  4. Article summary
  5. Key observations from practitioner’s perspective

We will be using a publicly accessible discussion forum on the ResearchImpact O3 site to host the journal club. Each journal club will be posted, with the paper attached if it is open access, and readers will be able to use the reply feature to comment or ask questions of the journal club author. We will be posting the first KMb journal club in a couple of weeks.

If you are reading a journal article that you think would be relevant to KMb practice you are invited to submit a journal club summary to us for consideration by e mailing to

Rethinking Research Impact / Repenser l’impact de la recherche

By David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York)

Some new thinking from researchers helps to refine our thinking about the impact of research and how we measure the “impact” (or “contribution”) research might have on policy and practice decisions.

De nouvelles réflexions de chercheurs nous aident à redéfinir notre compréhension de l’impact de la recherche et la manière dont nous mesurons « l’impact » (ou la « contribution ») que peut avoir la recherche sur les décisions en matiere de politiques et de pratiques….

Thank you Sarah Morton. Sarah Morton is co-director of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh. She came to Toronto to visit ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (York) for 2 weeks. During that visit she made a presentation to the Southern Ontario KTE Community of Practice, met with eight civil servants from Municipal Affairs & Housing, Health & Long Term Care, Education, Food & Rural Affair and Cabinet Office and with Ben Levin’s group at Research Supporting Practice in Education (RSPE). After a weekend in Barrie’s Bay, Sarah came back to Toronto and the world of KMb for a meeting with the International Alliance of Leading Educational Institutions, York’s KMb Expo and then the KTE CoP again where Sandra Nutley (Research Unit for Research Utilization, also the University of Edinburgh) also made a presentation.

As someone from CRFR tweeted “@CRFRTweets: Sarah Morton’s met more knowledge translators in the last 2 days in Toronto than in 10 years in Scotland” (June 7, 3:45pm).

Two meetings stood out for me. Amanda Cooper presented work on evaluation of 44 knowledge intermediary organizations in education including RIR. I won’t preempt her publication by disclosing her results but her evaluation framework was made public at the Canadian Society of the Studies in Education meeting at Congress 2011 in Fredericton. She evaluated the websites of those 44 knowledge intermediaries and scored them on their presentation of their efforts for KMb products, KMb events and KMb networks. Because KMb is a people mediated process, events and networks get weighted more heavily than products in their evaluation framework. This is one of the first quantitative evaluation frameworks for a system of KMb – most frameworks measure the effects of individual KMb interventions. I look forward to Amanda’s forthcoming paper so we can have a fullsome discussion of this methodology and seek to test it in other settings. Continue reading

To Blog Or Not To Blog?

David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York) was pleased to be invited to guest blog for Science of Blogging, a science blog run by @TravisSaunders, PhD Candidate, Obesity Researcher and Certified Exercise Physiologist. His blog, below, was posted on May 4, 2011. Check out the blog rolls on Mobilize This! and Science of Blogging. Each is following the other but you’ll see a few other great science and knowledge mobilization blogs there as well.

Dear Professor, To blog or not to blog?  This is not a question that you should worry about…for now. You compete successfully in three peer review arenas: publishing, grant seeking and tenure & promotion (T&P).  These three are interdependent with success in one begetting success in another.  The three are built on the same assumption: that your peers are in the best position to critique and thus make awards of publications, of grants and of tenure.  This isn’t going to change dramatically in the near future, so please don’t fret over all this blogging stuff.  Your klout score is not about to sway your T&P committee.

But note that in Canada, at least, times they are a changin’ (♫)

Canadian research funding is dominated by three federal granting councils (SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC) all of whom are rolling out new funding programs with non-academics on the peer review committees.  As I mentioned in a previous blog some (admittedly only a few) peer reviewed journals are including non academics on their editorial boards.  Campus-community collaborations are increasingly recognized by T&P committees (especially when the university based scholar and his/her community partner receives a $1M Community University Research Alliance) and there is even a national alliance to examine academic reward and incentive structures for community engaged scholarship.

But you don’t have to worry about that…for now.   Continue reading

A community of 1000 and growing / Une communauté de 1000 membres… en croissance

1000 followers – it’s not a record but Twitter is an important part of connecting to a broader community of knowledge practitioners.

1000 abonnés – Il ne s’agit pas d’un reccord, mais Twitter représente une voie privilégiée pour rejoindre la communauté élargie des “praticiens du savoir”.

Lady Gaga has 7,941,444 twitter followers. Oprah has 5,549,842. CNN has 1,889,096. Charlie Sheen has 3,531,943. Sometime between 11:00 am and 11:45 am on March 26, 2011, @ResearchImpact hit 1000 followers. It took us 22 months to get there.

It’s not a competition and followers are only one measure of the impact of a twitter presence. Charlie Sheen might have 3,500 times the followers of ResearchImpact but I hope that in the world of knowledge mobilization we’re having more of an impact than he is. Impact is an interesting thing on twitter. There are a few services that allow you to measure your impact on twitter.

Klout: we score 52 out of 100

ResearchImpact is a Specialist
You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.

TwitterGrader: we score 97.4 out of 100 and we rank 233,333 out of 9,157,539

Twitalyzer: we score 1.1 out of 100 which puts us in the 62nd percentile.

I have no idea what any of this means. Scores range from 1.1 to 97.4 out of 100. At the end of the day are we getting re-tweets, comments and mentions by our followers? Yes. And that’s what matters to me.

Continue reading