The KINDLE Project protocol, which was recently published in BMC Research Notes, outlines the procedure that will be followed during the KINDLE Project in order to identify key themes and messages from the Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN).
Research as a team endeavour has risen dramatically in the past decades given that health research requires real-world collaboration between researchers and health care professionals. In relation to palliative care, the European Association for Palliative Care Research Network (EAPC RN) was founded in 1996 on the premise that networks are essential for palliative care research. Research networks that facilitate collaborative research are increasing both regionally and globally and such collaborations contribute greatly to knowledge transfer, namely when collaborations between researchers and health care providers are encouraged. For instance, the Cancer Experiences Collaborative (CECo) was a UK-based network that has highlighted the benefits of collaborative multi-disciplinary research networks such as engendering capacity building among members and encouraging user engagement.
All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care’s (AIIHPC) Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN) is an example of a formal structured research network based across the island of Ireland that aims to respond to the growing need for research in palliative care. The AIIHPC PCRN was established in 2012 and is a collective of researchers committed to building research capacity, conducting high-quality collaborative research and extending knowledge to support better policy and practice in palliative care. The PCRN promotes collaborative research efforts through sustained programmes of research that aim to further enhance learning and exchange. Collaborative research is ideal in health care settings as it requires greater efforts towards knowledge translation which is crucial in order to foster successful implementation. Given the iterative nature of knowledge transfer and learning and the breadth of activity and evidence from the PCRN so far, a synthesis of evidence obtained from this research is timely. The principles of the PCRN incorporate public and service user engagement that engenders effective dissemination and the current protocol endeavours to reflect the operationalisation of these principles.
The aim of the KINDLE Project is to ensure that the learning from the PCRN is maximised to achieve optimum impact in the field of palliative care. The current team has designed the present protocol with a view of looking outward to comparable reviews that aim to carry out an interpretive rather than integrative review of a specific body of literature. A synthesis is a key component of knowledge transfer particularly when looking to promote key messages from a body of literature and thus, the present protocol aims to provide a synthesis of a specific source of research resulting in key themes and messages that will be used to target a wide range of knowledge users.
The research team is fully committed to the maxim ‘practice what you preach’ and set out a dissemination plan from day one of the project to ensure that the goals and progress of the project are widely available. The project was launched with an infographic (see below) that outlined the process of the work and was used as a means to encourage researchers from the projects that will form the review to send all of their dissemination output for inclusion. This infographic is used (and will continue to be used) as a marker of identity for the project and features on all output for the project.
This review offers a method of synthesising data from a focused research network that employs a variety of dissemination materials as a means of identifying key themes and messages from a specific body of research (i.e. the PCRN). Given the significant role that research networks play in palliative care research and the importance of knowledge exchange and dissemination in the implementation of health research, the review represents an endeavour to maximise the learning and impact of a research network by incorporating all forms of dissemination activity available. For example, users/carers, health and social care professionals will take part in reflection groups to allow for further interpretation of the themes and messages identified.
One means for researchers to effectively target specific knowledge users is with clear and concise messages aimed at a specific audience delivered in a way that the recipients want and that are supported by a credible body. The results of the current review will be targeted at a range of stakeholders and knowledge users such as researchers, health and social care professionals as well as users/family carers. A dissemination plan based upon a recent KTE model will be implemented and involve messages and themes identified transmitted in a series of short videos, podcasts, policy briefs and newsletters with specialist input from key stakeholders such as researchers, practitioners, policy makers and users and carers of palliative care services.