EMTReK and KINDLE: Knowledge Transfer in Action

KINDLE team member Dr Suzanne Guerin recently outlined a knowledge-transfer and exchange model called  EMTReK as well as a discussion of the KINDLE Project in a presentation entitled  “Maximising Knowledge Transfer & Exchange Using an Evidence-based Model”.

The talk took place on the 26th of October in the UCD School of Psychology as part of the lunchtime seminar series. See the presentation below:

KINDLE Project Protocol

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.

                                                    AIIHPC - Kindle 1 (P6)

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.

KINDLE Database

Since the launch of the KINDLE Project in December 2015, members of the Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN) have been kindly contributing their dissemination output to the KINDLE database. In addition, the KINDLE team have been carrying out a purposive structured search to identify further materials in the literature. At present, a total of 168 dissemination materials have been collected ranging from abstracts to protocols to tweets and newspaper articles. These materials are a great reflection of the work being done by the PCRN and only represent a snapshot of the work to come once these projects has ceased. Researchers are increasingly engaging in knowledge transfer throughout the lifespan of a project rather than as an afterthought once data analysis has been complete and the volume of products from the PCRN, at this stage of the research, reflects this trend. Figure 1 provides an overview of the types of dissemination materials currently available from the PCRN.

Dissemination Materials Graph

Figure 1. Tabulation of Dissemination Materials for the KINDLE Project (click image for larger version)

Traditional forms of dissemination were the most popular means of engaging in knowledge transfer and exchange with peer-reviewed papers topping the list of dissemination products, followed closely by conference presentations. Avenues that would be more skewed toward the general population such as social media were not highly utilised, for example there were only 9 tweets pertaining to projects from the PCRN. Internal progress reports and protocols were also common forms of dissemination at present, though this was unsurprising given the stage that the projects are at.

Figure 1 below outlines the audiences at whom these materials were targeted. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the materials were targeted at academic audiences through peer-reviewed papers, conference presentations and poster, with a small minority aimed at the general public. Patient and carer groups were one of the groups targeted the least and similarly very few materials were produced which targeted professional groups and policy makers.

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Figure 2. Intended audiences of Dissemination Materials from the KINDLE Project (click image for larger version)

It should be noted that a journal article was considered to be targeting academic audiences only. It is widely accepted that knowledge users do not read academic journals and researchers must re-package their findings to ensure that they reach users of knowledge. Despite the fact that access to such articles is restricted through pay-walled journals which many users do not have access to, journal articles typically contain complex information and jargon that isolates those who do not use such language in everyday practice. Moreover, researchers are generally (understandably) cautious about over-interpreting findings from a single study for risk of being accused of unscientific behaviour. These factors (and possibly many more) widen the gap between academic research and those who should be benefitting directly from it. A myriad of new avenues of communication have emerged in recent years to assist researchers with the complex task of communicating with knowledge users in a coherent manner.

One issue that struck us when conducting the search of the literature was the dissemination output that emerged which was indirectly related to the projects. That is, papers outlining a topic that is closely related to the project and written during the lifespan of the project but not a direct output of the project (i.e. not reporting on results of the project). Indeed, figure 3 below demonstrated how 17.3% of the materials were such indirect products. Academic work is rarely conducted in isolation and individual outputs from a single researcher are always more than the sum of their parts. It is difficult to disentangle the impact of one piece of work on another however, it is unlikely that different projects conducted by a single researcher would not inform one another, particularly if they are related topics. Thus it stands to reason that such materials while not a direct output of the PCRN projects are contributing, and gaining from, a wide network of learning from each member’s knowledge base.

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Figure 3. Direct vs Indirect Output (click image for larger version)

The KINDLE database is a testament to the work of the PCRN and the efforts made to disseminate the learning that is continually emerging from the network. With the creation of the database, the next step in the KINDLE project will be the beginning of the review of the materials followed by the thematic synthesis. We would like to thank all members of the PCRN and beyond who have contributed to the KINDLE database and look forward to providing you continual updates on the project.


The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) held its annual research congress in University College Dublin from the 8th to the 11th of June 2016. All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) hosted a stand at the conference and the KINDLE Project was represented at the stand. The event saw over 1300 delegates from all over the world come together to discuss current research developments in palliative care.

AIIHPC held a very successful social media initiative at the event called #whywedoresearch where over 50 researchers attending the conference wrote down the things that motivate them to do research in palliative care. Photos of all of the researchers were posted on the @AIIHPC twitter account with the hashtag #whywedoresearch. Check out a selection of the photos below!

EAPC Collage.jpg

The KINDLE Project generated a great amount of interest from researchers and practitioners alike with much discussion focusing on the value of knowledge transfer and exchange in health and social research. The work of the Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN) was also a central discussion piece during these talks given the aim of the KINDLE Project is to maximise the impact of the evidence contained with the PCRN. We were encouraged to hear that other research teams and institutes are also adopting a range of knowledge transfer initiatives and activities to ensure the learning from their research portfolios reaches target audiences.


The PCRN’s Early Career Researchers Forum (ECRF) Annual Seminar also took place at this event where Dr Helen Dixon from Queen’s University Belfast gave an insightful talk on “Communicating your research using social media: insights, tool, and possibilities”. The key talking points from this session were the means with which researchers can use social media to enhance knowledge transfer of their work and using Altmetrics to detect the impact of your dissemination materials. It was an inspirational event for young researchers who want to make their mark and Helen left us with many encouraging words that I will leave you with here…..

Be Brief, Be vivid, Be connected” –Dr Helen Dixon

HD_ECRF seminar