Knowledge Translation

Knowledge Translation

Lead Academics

Eivind Engebretsen

Jan Buts

Mona Baker


Knowledge translation (KT) focuses on effectively communicating and translating medical research findings into practice. It aims to bridge the gap between cutting-edge scientific knowledge and its application in medical and social settings, at the population rather than individual level. According to the World Health Organization (2012), KT involves the synthesis, exchange and application of knowledge by relevant stakeholders to accelerate the benefits of global and local innovation, strengthen health systems and improve people’s health. The underlying assumption is that despite the existence of relevant biomedical knowledge, this knowledge is not effectively applied in healthcare settings such as hospitals and clinics. KT serves as a combined scientific and social instrument to reduce this gap between theory and practice, making medical practice more evidence-based and biomedical knowledge more accessible to practitioners and policy makers.


As a concept, knowledge translation is both related to and distinct from several other concepts that feature prominently in a variety of discourses, both within and beyond the field of health. On the one hand, it overlaps to some extent with terms such as knowledge transfer, implementation, dissemination, and evidence-based practice. These terms all concern the movement and application of knowledge in various forms and venues. On the other hand, knowledge translation also interacts with concepts that continue to interact with the discourse of translation and interpreting between languages, as illustrated by the widespread use of concepts such as fidelity, source, and target culture. Examining the use of ‘knowledge’ and especially ‘translation’ individually as well as in combination with other concepts (as in ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘cultural translation’) can provide important insights into the nuanced differences between the meanings and applications of ‘knowledge translation’ across different domains and practices.

Indicative Sources

Knowledge Translation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Available at

Sex, Gender and Knowledge Translation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Available at

World Health Organization. 2012. Knowledge Translation Framework for Ageing and Health. Available at

Knowledge translation of research findings, Implementation Science. Available at

Estabrooks, C.A., Thompson, D., Lovely, J.E., & Hofmeyer, A. 2006. A guide to knowledge translation theory, Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 26(1): 25-36. Available at

Sudsawad, P. 2007. Knowledge translation: Introduction to models, strategies, and measures. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research. Available at

Straus, S.E., Tetroe, J. & Graham, I. 2009. Defining knowledge translation, Canadian Medical Association Journal 181(3-4): 165-168. Available at

Ødemark, J., & Engebretsen, E. 2022. Challenging medical knowledge translation: convergence and divergence of translation across epistemic and cultural boundaries. Humanities & Social Science Communication 9(71). Available at

Potential MA/PhD Projects

Knowledge Translation is a complex and multidimensional concept. It is traditionally understood within the medical field as a process of refining the evidence base from clinical trials and systematic reviews and elevating it up the hierarchy of evidence, thereby supporting evidence-based medical practices. It is widely considered the optimal strategy to bridge gaps between evidence and decision-making at all levels of health care, including contexts that involve interaction with patients, health care professionals and policy-makers. There has, however, been some critical engagement with this understanding of knowledge translation in recent years, and various attempts to redefine it in ways that might better acknowledge the complexity and contingency of this concept.

Drawing on the Oslo Medical Corpus, questions that can be addressed in this regard include but are not limited to the following:

  • How has knowledge translation evolved as a concept? How have the textual patterns in which it is embedded changed since the concept’s inception in the early 2000s? What does this evolution tell us about the position of knowledge translation as a fundamental concept in the field of medicine and healthcare?
  • How is the concept of knowledge translation interpreted across various healthcare domains, such as emergency medicine compared to public health?
  • What conceptual frameworks encompass knowledge translation? How does it connect to similar concepts in the field of translation, where similar metaphors circulate?
  • What does the patterning of knowledge translation in the Oslo Medical Corpus reveal about what counts as knowledge and what is involved in its translation in the field of health? And how does this patterning compare with the use of similar concepts in the Genealogies of Knowledge corpus?