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Table 4 Summary of comparison among integrated knowledge translation, engaged scholarship, Mode 2 research, co-production and participatory research (presented here from left to right according to the timeline of their emergence from the most recent to the earliest)

From: How does integrated knowledge translation (IKT) compare to other collaborative research approaches to generating and translating knowledge? Learning from experts in the field

FactorIntegrated knowledge translationEngaged scholarshipMode 2 researchCo-productionParticipatory research
ScopeResearch, Implementation [16]Research/teaching scholarship [44]ResearchResearchResearch
Original purpose/intentA collaborative approach between researchers and knowledge users to increase the chances that research findings will be applicable to those under study [16]A participative research process that expands the capabilities of scholars to gather perspectives of key stakeholders and study complex problems; the ultimate aim is to create knowledge that advances science and practice, and is more penetrating and insightful than that which is done in isolation [45]To bring awareness to the production of knowledge within context, by increasing the flexibility to mix, coalesce and reformulate rapidly, increase the diversity of included partners, seek awareness of what the end-users see as the issues to enhance the usability and social accountability of the research, broaden the sphere of what constitutes knowledge [23]Provides a new way of understanding and evaluating hybrid, heterogeneous arrangements that extend well beyond traditional conceptualisations of political science (policy), economics;
co-production is the active involvement of consumers in various stages of the knowledge production process [46] (interchangeable with co-creation)
To address community issues in a collaborative, consultative, democratic, reflective, reflexive, dialogical and improvement-oriented fashion that builds capacity and creates actionable, ownership of findings [47];
it mobilises living knowledge of people connected together in their context and creates a common understanding of ways to act for the common good [48]
Primary motivationExplicit focus on increasing knowledge use and impact [16]Explicit focus on reconnecting academia with societal needs, education for democracy, civic responsibility/engagement and public scholarship [44]Explicit focus on return on investment and increasing accountability [23, 44]Explicit focus on increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of public services by involving consumers in the development and delivery processesExplicit focus on social and environmental justice and a desire for impact change, particularly to benefit underserved/vulnerable citizens and communities
Epistemological stanceNeutral [44]
Social constructionism [49]
Critical realist, within social construction [45, 50] (objective ontology, subjective epistemology – a process of constructing models to represent aspects of the world and comparing them with rival plausible alternates)Described as post-modernist, post-positivist, post-industrialist [23, 51] (linkages have been drawn between Toulmin and phronesis-oriented philosophy [52])
Shares features of critical realism; counter-hegemony [5], has been viewed by others from a pragmatic perspective, as bricolage [14, 53]
Relational ontology (emphasis on interrelationships and co-constitution) or the conjoined production of one nature-culture [54]; epistemology is unstable and still evolving
Some discussion of neo-materialist underpinnings
Pluralist interpretivist perspective (Aristotelian praxis, hermeneutics, constructivism, constructionism, critical theory, existentialism, pragmatism, process philosophies and phenomenology) (Northern Tradition) [55, 56]
Critical pedagogy (Southern Tradition), aspects of pragmatism, pluralism, egalitarianism, Liberation theology [48]
Extended epistemology of “practical knowing” [55] (experiential, presentational, propositional and practical ways of knowing)
Theoretical underpinningsInitial Context for IKT: Planned Action/Change Theory [57] (set of logically interrelated concepts that systematically explain the means by which and predicts how planned change occurs in a specific environment, and helps planners control variables that increase or decrease likelihood for change); deliberate change engineering in social systemsEngaged Scholarship Diamond Model links data to theory (designed by the researcher, through engaged scholarship) [57]
Model involves research design, theory building, problem formulation and problem solving within a study context, and in an iterative fashion [57] Model outlines how academics relate their teaching, discovery, integration, and application activity and retain balance between each [57]
Policy theoryOstrom’s policy theory underlies the concept of co-production [8]Lewin: iterative, collaborative action–reflection cycles (problem awareness, shifts in understanding, formulation of a plan of action, transformative action and progressive iterative learning, and cementing new behaviour based on effective corrective action) [48], a mode of embedded, collective self-inquiry
Theory implicit/explicitExplicit within the KTA process, implicit as a stand-alone conceptImplicitImplicit
(fragmented, evolving)
Historical roots
Geographic originCanadaUnited StatesUnited Kingdom/Europe, later United StatesUnited States, United Kingdom (post 2000)United States United Kingdom, South America
Disciplinary originHealth/Medicine/NursingEducationPhilosophyEconomics, Public policySocial sciences (Psychology in North America, Community Development, Education in South America)
Health research vs. other researchHealth Research/Medicine/NursingGeneral researchGeneral researchCivil rights and social careCivil rights and social sciences
Disciplinary background of early developersHealth Research Funders (CHSRF and CIHR), Canada
Jonathan Lomas, CEO CHSRF (1997), Canada
Ian Graham, VP Knowledge Translation (2007), Canada
Ernest Boyer, President of the Carnegie Foundation/Educator (1996), United States
Andrew Van de Ven- Educator (2006), United States
Michael Gibbons, Physicist (1994) United Kingdom/Europe
Helga Nowotny, Educator (2003) Europe
Elinor Ostrom, Economist (1978), United States
Edgar Cahn, Civil rights law professor (2001), United States
Kurt Lewin, Psychologist (1946), United States/United Kingdom: ‘Northern Tradition’
Paulo Freire, Educator/Philosopher (1970), South America: ‘Southern Tradition’
Unique featuresOnly approach with roots in a health research and subsequently developed within health research and implementation contexts
Term ‘knowledge users’ is unique to IKT (i.e. explicit focus on policy-makers/decision-makers positioned to influence change or implement the generated knowledge
Originally developed in an academic setting driven by university researchers in the United States
Explicit inclusion of student partners, institutional agreements
Embraces and equally emphasises all forms of scholarship (discovery, integration, application and teaching); cutting across teaching, research and service
Originally developed by educators in the United Kingdom and Europe
Explicit inclusion of industry/private sector involvement as a partner; only approach to explicitly consider for-profit partnerships
Originally developed by an economist in the United States
Explicit inclusion of patients (as consumers of health services), who can be considered ‘temporarily marginalised’
Originally developed in social sciences by a psychologist (Northern tradition) and an educator/philosopher (Southern Tradition) in the United States
Explicit focus on social justice, power and emancipation as common outcomes
Explicit focus on researcher’s humility
Capacity-building is an intentional outcome
What partners are called‘Knowledge user’, ‘Health system decision-makers’, ‘policy-makers’, ‘administrators’, ‘clinical leaders’, ‘patients’‘Stakeholders’, ‘public members’, ‘communities’, ‘organisations’, ‘society’, ‘students’, ‘citizens’‘End-users’, ‘industry’‘Consumers’, ‘service users’, ‘citizens’‘Community members’, ‘community of interest’, ‘citizens’, ‘community groups’, ‘partners’
Role of partners‘Knowledge users’, particularly policy-makers/decision-makers and those positioned to use generated knowledge to impact change
Role is negotiated (equal or equitable power and authority throughout the research process)
‘Stakeholders’ contribute diverse perspectives/’xpertise and work with researchers to resolve the conflicts that rise from them to lead to higher levels of understanding‘End-users’ are actively engaged from the outset to ensure research agenda and objectives meet societal needs‘Consumers’ are actively engaged as change agents (differing capabilities and interests, which sometimes may require finding synergies or trade-offs among them) in the planning and delivery of public services
‘Co-producers’ are recipients and shapers of service/goods; they may have differing capabilities and/or skills that require trade-offs/synergies
‘Community members’ (experts in lived experiences and ability to use results to influence/make local changes) and researchers (facilitators with expertise in research design/obtaining funding etc.) work together to solve a given issue
Power sharingEqual or equitable role, power and authority throughout the research processLeveraging expertise of stakeholders and researchers (‘arbitrage’) in co-creation of knowledgeNon-hierarchical relationship between end-users and researchers in co-reaction of knowledgeShift in power towards service users to improve planning and delivery of public servicesEmpowerment and capacity-building of communities to have an equal or equitable role, power and authority throughout the research process
  1. Adapted from Bowen 2015 [44]; Table 10.3, ‘Comparison of KT, ES, and PR’
  2. CHSRF Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, CIHR Canadian Institutes of Health Research, IKT integrated knowledge translation, KTA Knowledge to Action