Longitudinal evaluation of a knowledge translation role in occupational therapy

Dr Danielle Hitch1,2, Ms. Kate Lhuede2, Ms Lindsay  Vernon2, Associate Professor Genevieve  Pepin3

1Western Health, St. Albans, Australia, 2North Western Mental Health, Parkville, Australia, 3Deakin University, Geelong, Australia


Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a knowledge translation role on workforce participation in research activities, attitudes towards evidence based practice, workforce perception of the role and the social network of the service in relation to evidence based practice and knowledge translation.

Method: Workforce surveys were completed in early 2014 (n=42) and late 2016 (n=44), with participants completing them both in person and online. Research key performance indicators (academic, research production and cultural) were also identified for measurement over time. The survey data were analysed using descriptive and inductive analysis, and also with social network analysis.

Results: This role has demonstrated positive outcomes across a range of variables. A medium effect on the number of knowledge translation activities undertaken was identified, with most knowledge translation activities engaged in 1-3 times every two months. An improving trend in attitudes towards evidence-based practice was recorded, and perceptions of the knowledge translation role were positive.  The incumbent in the position moved from the periphery to the centre of the social network for evidence-based practice, with improved awareness of other contacts observed. The role has met all of its key performance indicators, across the academic, research production and cultural domains.

Conclusion: The shift in focus of this role from research to knowledge translation and capacity building has produced tangible outcomes and had a positive impact on the role’s sustainability.


Dani Hitch is the Allied Health Research and Translation Lead at Western Health, and a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at Deakin University. Her particular areas of interest include knowledge translation, occupational therapy and social justice.