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Is it time to drop the ‘knowledge translation’ metaphor? A critical literature review

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, December 2011
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (98th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (91st percentile)

Mentioned by

blogs
1 blog
policy
1 policy source
twitter
103 tweeters
facebook
1 Facebook page
googleplus
1 Google+ user

Citations

dimensions_citation
236 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
502 Mendeley
citeulike
4 CiteULike
Title
Is it time to drop the ‘knowledge translation’ metaphor? A critical literature review
Published in
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, December 2011
DOI 10.1258/jrsm.2011.110285
Pubmed ID
Authors

Trisha Greenhalgh, Sietse Wieringa

Abstract

The literature on 'knowledge translation' presents challenges for the reviewer because different terms have been used to describe the generation, sharing and application of knowledge and different research approaches embrace different philosophical positions on what knowledge is. We present a narrative review of this literature which deliberately sought to highlight rather than resolve tensions between these different framings. Our findings suggest that while 'translation' is a widely used metaphor in medicine, it constrains how we conceptualise and study the link between knowledge and practice. The 'translation' metaphor has, arguably, led to particular difficulties in the fields of 'evidence-based management' and 'evidence-based policymaking' - where it seems that knowledge obstinately refuses to be driven unproblematically into practice. Many non-medical disciplines such as philosophy, sociology and organization science conceptualise knowledge very differently, as being (for example) 'created', 'constructed', 'embodied', 'performed' and 'collectively negotiated' - and also as being value-laden and tending to serve the vested interests of dominant élites. We propose that applying this wider range of metaphors and models would allow us to research the link between knowledge and practice in more creative and critical ways. We conclude that research should move beyond a narrow focus on the 'know-do gap' to cover a richer agenda, including: (a) the situation-specific practical wisdom (phronesis) that underpins clinical judgement; (b) the tacit knowledge that is built and shared among practitioners ('mindlines'); (c) the complex links between power and knowledge; and (d) approaches to facilitating macro-level knowledge partnerships between researchers, practitioners, policymakers and commercial interests.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 103 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 502 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 19 4%
Canada 15 3%
United States 9 2%
Spain 3 <1%
New Zealand 2 <1%
Australia 2 <1%
Netherlands 2 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Kuwait 1 <1%
Other 6 1%
Unknown 442 88%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 112 22%
Researcher 109 22%
Student > Master 60 12%
Other 44 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 34 7%
Other 121 24%
Unknown 22 4%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Social Sciences 152 30%
Medicine and Dentistry 126 25%
Nursing and Health Professions 40 8%
Psychology 30 6%
Business, Management and Accounting 18 4%
Other 92 18%
Unknown 44 9%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 83. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 18 January 2020.
All research outputs
#219,568
of 14,189,350 outputs
Outputs from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
#78
of 1,940 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#1,297
of 120,994 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
#1
of 12 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 14,189,350 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,940 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 18.7. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 120,994 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 12 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.