Knowledge translation for public health in low- and middle- income countries: a critical interpretive synthesis

Catherine Malla, Paul Aylward, Paul Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
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Effective knowledge translation allows the optimisation of access to and utilisation of research knowledge in order to inform and enhance public health policy and practice. In low- and middle- income countries, there are substantial complexities that affect the way in which research can be utilised for public health action. This review attempts to draw out concepts in the literature that contribute to defining some of the complexities and contextual factors that influence knowledge translation for public health in low- and middle- income countries.

A Critical Interpretive Synthesis was undertaken, a method of analysis which allows a critical review of a wide range of heterogeneous evidence, through incorporating systematic review methods with qualitative enquiry techniques. A search for peer-reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2016 on the topic of knowledge translation for public health in low- and middle – income countries was carried out, and 85 articles were reviewed and analysed using this method.

Four main concepts were identified: 1) tension between ‘global’ and ‘local’ health research, 2) complexities in creating and accessing evidence, 3) contextualising knowledge translation strategies for low- and middle- income countries, and 4) the unique role of non-government organisations in the knowledge translation process.

This method of review has enabled the identification of key concepts that may inform practice or further research in the field of knowledge translation in low- and middle- income countries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Health Research and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


  • Critical interpretive synthesis
  • Knowledge translation
  • Low- and middle- income countries
  • Public health


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