Integrated Knowledge Translation: Illustrated with Outcome Research in Mental Health
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Through this article the authors present a case summary of the early phases of research conducted with an Integrated Knowledge Translation (iKT) approach utilizing four factors: research question, research approach, feasibility, and outcome. iKT refers to an approach for conducting research in which community partners, referred to as knowledge users, are engaged in the entire research process. In this collaborative approach, knowledge users and researchers jointly devise the entire research agenda beginning with the development of the research question(s), determination of a feasible research design and feasible methods, interpretation of the results, dissemination of the findings, and the translation of knowledge into practice or policy decisions. Engaging clinical or community partners in the research enterprise can enhance the utility of the research results and facilitate its uptake. This collaboration can be a complex arrangement and flexibility may be required to accommodate the various configurations that the collaboration can take. For example, the research question can be jointly determined and refined; however, one person must take the responsibility for orchestrating the project, including preparing the proposal and application to the Research Ethics Board. This collaborative effort also requires the simultaneous navigation of barriers and facilitators to the research enterprise. Navigating these elements becomes part of the conduct of research with the potential for rewarding results, including an enriched work experience for clinical partners and investigators. One practice implication is that iKT may be considered of great utility to service providers due to its field friendly nature.