Does context matter?


Written by Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht. Senior Research Fellow. College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

CareSearch is primarily a knowledge translation organisation active in the synthesis and dissemination of research evidence relevant to palliative care. Not surprisingly our research focus is translational research, or research related to the movement of research evidence from the ‘bench’ to real-world application in practice. Central to our activities are our two websites and CareSearch supports information needs across care settings and across the life course, while palliAGED provides support for the aged care sector. Our stakeholders are health and care professionals as well as the broader community.  Drawing on research evidence to develop resources that reflect the contexts of practice and care, dissemination of the resulting information and resources is a major component of our work. However, we also understand that making information available is often of itself not enough.

The literature on Knowledge Translation (KT) offers a lens through which to understand the current engagement activity. KT approaches recognise that environment and context can influence evidence access and response by stakeholders and by evidence users.  One review evaluations of knowledge mobilisation agencies highlighted the need tailor research-based resources to the preferences and access needs of the specific audiences. (1) This “context” can be critical to how evidence is selected, framed and communicated and hence to the effectiveness of knowledge translation. (2)

Therefore, we are currently undertaking research to develop and test a structured framework approach to enhance dissemination efficiency and extend the reach of our resources. The Engagement Project framework is based on a grounded theory methodology. Its primary aim is to guide identification of sector specific information channels and dissemination approaches, and to guide subsequent use of this information to deliver relevant resources to where they are needed. We are currently working with representatives of the aged care and allied health sectors, and patient, carers, and families to test the framework.  The targeted groups are very different with respect to organisational structure and their role in palliative care. Therefore, it is expected that this research will also provide us with insights into the generalisability of the framework. This is an important consideration given the diversity of Australian communities that might benefit from improved access to palliative care resources.


1. Davies HTO, Powell AE, Nutley SM. Mobilising knowledge to improve UK health care: learning from other countries and other sectors – a multimethod mapping study. Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 3.27. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2015 Jun.

2. Squires et al 2019 Understanding context: A concept analysis J Adv Nurs. 2019;00:1–23.

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