Exploring the Hidden Barriers in Knowledge Translation: A Case Study Within an Academic Community

Gillian Harvey, Rhianon Marshall, Zoe Jordan, Alison Kitson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Debates about knowledge translation (KT) typically focus on the research-practice gap, which appears to be premised on the assumption that academics are a homogeneous collective, sharing a common view. We argue that a number of hidden barriers need to be addressed related to the understanding, interpretation, ability, and commitment to translate knowledge within academic communities. We explore this by presenting a qualitative case study in a health sciences faculty. Applying organizational and management theory, we discuss different types of boundaries and the resultant barriers generated, ranging from diversity in understanding and perceptions of KT to varying motivations and incentives to engage in translational activity. We illustrate how we are using the empirical findings to inform the development of a KT strategy that targets the identified barriers. Investing in this internal KT-focused activity is an important step to maximize the potential of future collaborations between producers and users of research in health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1506-1517
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • evidence-based practice
  • knowledge transfer
  • knowledge utilization
  • qualitative analysis
  • semi-structured interviews
  • translation

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