The purpose of this study was to undertake a systematic assessment of the need for research-based information by decision-makers working in community-based organizations. It is part of a more comprehensive knowledge transfer and exchange strategy that seeks to understand both the content required and the format/methods by which such information should be presented.
This was a cross-sectional telephone survey. Questions covered current practices, research use, and demographic information, as well as preferences for receiving research information. Three types of organizations participated: Children's Treatment Centres of Ontario (CTCs); Ontario Community Care Access Centres (CCACs); and District Health Councils (DHCs). The analysis used descriptive statistics and analyses of variance (ANOVA) to describe and explore variations across organizations.
The participation rate was 70%. The highest perception of barriers to the use of research information was reported by the CCAC respondents, followed by CTCs and DHCs. The CTCs and DHCs reported greater use of research evidence in planning decisions as compared to the CCACs. Four sources of information transfer were consistently identified. These were websites, health-related research journals, electronic mail, and conferences and workshops. Preferred formats for receiving information were executive summaries, abstracts, and original articles.
There were a number of similarities across organization type with respect to perceived barriers to research transfer, as well as the types of activities the organizations engaged in to promote research use in decision-making. These findings support the importance of developing interactive, collaborative knowledge transfer strategies, as well as the need to foster relationships with health care decision-makers, practitioners and policymakers.