Five-step checklist for knowledge exchange

The Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO. (2006). Doing more with what you know: A Toolkit on Knowledge Exchange. Ottawa, ON. Retrieved from:


This tool provides strategies for knowledge dissemination and exchange. It adopts a broad viewpoint that facilitates knowledge exchange among diverse stakeholders. It is based on the following research in knowledge translation:

  • Consider four critical elements: the source, the content, the method and the audience of messages for knowledge translation.
  • Collaborate and partner with all stakeholders to ensure effective knowledge translation efforts.
  • Encourage face-to-face interaction, which is key to communicating tacit knowledge.
  • Use active rather than passive strategies to share knowledge.
  • Use multiple rather than single strategies to communicate information in a way that considers the needs and preferences of target audiences.
  • Consulting, virtual networks and collaborative virtual learning environments are examples of knowledge exchange.
  • Acknowledge that knowledge translation is part of a larger context of innovation and change.
  • Address issues of power, authority and leadership among different stakeholders that may influence knowledge translation outcomes.

The developers recommend addressing the following questions in the creation of an effective knowledge translation plan:

  • Who are the intended audiences?
  • When will they become involved in the development of the knowledge translation plan?
  • How will they become involved?
  • What strategies will you employ to reach knowledge translation goals?
  • What role will each partner play in developing, implementing and measuring knowledge translation outcomes?
  • What resources will you require?
  • What resources will partners contribute to the knowledge translation plan?
  • How will you measure the impact of the knowledge translation strategy for each audience?

Steps for Using Method/Tool

The Knowledge Exchange Tool Kit consists of the following six sections:

A) The Knowledge Exchange Checklist - an itemized list of key actions across five domains. These domains inform the development of a knowledge dissemination and exchange plan.

  1. Starting Points: Place research into the context of existing knowledge. Identify any systematic reviews on the issue. Identify and actively engage stakeholders. Create a support system to give and receive feedback. Identify all potential uses of research findings. Give time for stakeholders to build relationships.
  2. Audiences: Identify characteristics of audiences. Identify communication formats suited for each audience (oral, written or in-person). Consider the ideal time for delivering a message. Consider who is best suited to deliver the message. Develop a communication plan with multiple strategies to reach stakeholders.
  3. Communication: Identify how ongoing communication will be supported. Recognize translation needs for stakeholders. Determine if there is sufficient resource allocation for communication. Identify dedicated knowledge brokers for communication and learning opportunities.
  4. Dissemination: Develop tools for dissemination (e.g., workshops, media releases). Identify how to measure the effectiveness of messages. Identify opportunities and priorities for knowledge use (e.g., policies, skills).
  5. Use and Feedback: Determine how ongoing implementation and use of research findings will be supported. Identify resources and people to support ongoing steps. Identify how feedback from implementation and use will be communicated to other interested parties.

B) Knowledge Exchange Emerging Concepts - a list of key concepts that support knowledge exchange and dissemination.

C) Knowledge Exchange Scenarios - case examples of knowledge exchange and dissemination activities. Each scenario includes a description of the case example, the knowledge exchange and dissemination practices used in that setting and potential opportunities for growth or alternative options. Five case examples are discussed: artifacts/symbols, multi-sector partnerships, conference leverage, research summaries and infrastructure.

D) Vehicles - a list of ideas and opportunities to support knowledge exchange.

E) Glossary - definitions of terms commonly used in knowledge translation.

F) Suggested Readings - a list of additional resources for knowledge translation.

These summaries are written by the NCCMT to condense and to provide an overview of the resources listed in the Registry of Methods and Tools and to give suggestions for their use in a public health context. For more information on individual methods and tools included in the review, please consult the authors/developers of the original resources.

We have provided the resources and links as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by McMaster University of any of the products, services or opinions of the external organizations, nor have the external organizations endorsed their resources and links as provided by McMaster University. McMaster University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites.

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