RESEARCH REFLECTIONS: Communicating your research

Jennifer M.L. Stephens


Several years of Research Reflections have provided instruction and supportive guidance to assist both novice and advanced scholars in conducting and appraising nursing research. From developing a strong research question to critically evaluating the quality of a published study, the ultimate purpose of nursing research is to disseminate findings in order to have an impact on clinical practice. This objective is contained within the notion of knowledge translation (KT). The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR, 2016) defines KT as “a dynamic and iterative process” consisting of several steps that foster the creation, and subsequent dissemination, of knowledge for the purpose of improving the health of Canadians by strengthening healthcare services. A short list of additional terms imbued with similar purpose and meaning to KT include knowledge exchange, implementation, research utilization, diffusion, and knowledge transfer. Graham and colleagues (2006) suggested that confusion arising from multiple methodologies and theories for disseminating research findings be clarified to ensure that they are not “lost in knowledge translation” (p.13). Indeed, for both novice and experienced researchers an awkward and frustrating disconnect can exist between generated research knowledge and crucial stakeholders it was meant to inform. Unless research results are communicated with others in a way that is effective and meaningful, potentially important and practice-changing knowledge could slip into the obscurity of a file cabinet or rarely-cited manuscript.

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Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (2016, July 28). Knowledge translation at CIHR. Retrieved from

Graham, I., Logan, J., Harrison, M., Straus, S., Tetroe, J., Caswell, W., & Robinson, N. (2006). Lost in knowledge translation: Time for a map? The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26, 13–24.

Ponterotto, J.G., & Grieger, I. (2007). Effectively communicating qualitative research. The Counseling Psychologist, 35(3), 404–430. doi:10.1177/0011000006287443


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