The Knowledge-to-Action Framework

The Knowledge-to-Action Framework was developed to help create and sustain evidence-based actions (Graham et al., 2006). It is an explicit process to determine what knowledge needs to be translated, how it is translated, by w'hom, when, and why. It was generated through a synthesis of planned action theories about the process of change, largely in the health field. The Knowledge-to-Action Framework recognizes that every situation depends on the players involved and the context in which they operate. It is composed of two components: knowledge creation and the action cycle. Each component involves several phases which influence each other (Graham et al., 2006). A critical first step is the cultivation of the trust and relationships between knowledge creators and knowledge users to establish a common understanding of needs and process.

The three stages of Knowledge Creation start with the inquiry phase, which is characterized by a diversity of studies of variable quality that are distributed throughout a variety of sources and locations. Next comes knowledge synthesis, which uses reproducible methods, such as a systematic literature review or meta-analysis, to identify, assess, and synthesize information relevant to specific questions. The third phase of knowledge creation is the production of tools, such as guidelines, that are clear, concise, and user-friendly to facilitate knowledge uptake and implementation. Knowledge is best co-created by researchers and those who need to use the knowledge, but there are tasks in the knowledge creation processes that may be better suited to some subgroups than others. As ones goes through the three stages of knowledge creation, the information being assembled becomes more and more tailored to local needs and circumstances.

The Action Cycle portion of the Knowledge-to-Action Framew'ork describes an eight-part process that leads to knowledge implementation (Table 12.2). Each step can influence the other and can be influenced by the knowledge creation component.

PRECEDE-PROCEED as a Planning Model

The PRECEDE-PROCEED model is another framework to help plan knowledge mobilization efforts. The model was created to assess needs for designing, implementing, and evaluating health promotion and public health programmes

TABLE 12.2

Eight Questions Arising from the Action Cycle of the Knowledge-to-Action Framework Described by Graham et al. (2006)

What is the knowledge-to-action problem that needs to be addressed?

What is the nature and quality of the knowledge needed to address the problem?

What is the best way to adapt available knowledge to local needs, knowledge users, and circumstances?

What is currently blocking the movement of knowledge to action?

What is the best way to get the message to those who need to know in order to implement change?

Is the knowledge that has been shared being used?

Have practices or policies changed after the knowledge was shared?

Is the knowledge implementation effectively and efficiently being sustained?

(Crosby and Noar, 2011). It can provide some guidance for developing knowledge- to-action activities.

PRECEDE stands for Predisposing, Reinforcing, and Enabling Constructs in Educational Diagnosis and Evaluation. This phase is used to plan programmes. It involves (i) determining the problems and needs of a given population and identify desired results; (ii) identifying the determinants of the identified problems and set priorities and goals; (iii) analyzing determinants that predispose, reinforce, and enable actions; (iv) identifying administrative and policy factors that influence implementation; and (v) matching appropriate interventions that encourage the desired and expected changes.

PROCEED stands for Policy, Regulatory, and Organizational Constructs in Educational and Environmental Development. This phase is used to assess the effects of the knowledge-to-action activities in four steps: (i) designing an implementation assessment plan before implementing the programme, (ii) determining if the programme is following the plan and adaptively managing the plan or activities accordingly, (iii) evaluating if there was a change in action, and (iv) determining if the actions were associated with changes in the target goal. The process guides the planner to think logically about the desired end point and work backwards to achieve that goal.


Knowledge mobilization is the push and pull of data, information, and knowledge in multiple directions, between individuals and groups, for mutual benefit. It is not easy to effectively communicate the need to and means to change to a wide variety of audiences typical of One Health problems, with messages that are clear, simple, and relevant. Regardless of the end users of knowledge, be they policymakers, resource managers, health practitioners, or the public, knowledge mobilization requires a relentless dedication to understanding the users’ needs and strategies to engage, inform, and motivate them under the circumstances they find themselves.

Good knowledge mobilization takes time. Rarely will one meeting, or one paper, be enough to change what people do. Investing in the time to build the relationships and understand the context for change before planning underlies all activities to effectively inspire change. Successful knowledge-to-action plans are built on ongoing collaborations that build capacity and readiness for change. A clear plan that outlines roles, responsibilities, and authority to support action and secures the partnership and resources needed to sustain change are essential. Often the “personal touch,” like face-to-face meetings, can facilitate a better understanding of the context for change and help tailor knowledge products to specific audiences and local strategic priorities. Knowledge brokers and trusted champions of change should be identified early and brought into the knowledge- to-action process. A final but essential part of closing the implantation gap is evaluation. There is no one method to evaluate knowledge-to-action efforts, but systematically collecting and analyzing information to see if a programme or a project is doing what it set out to do helps identify changes that need to be made along the way to you achieving your goals.


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13 Complex Systems

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