The Intentions of Graduate Student Researchers to Participate in Knowledge Translation: A Mixed Methods Investigation
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There is a well-established disconnect between research evidence and health practice. This has prompted efforts to improve knowledge translation (KT) between knowledge producers and knowledge users. Little is known about what motivates health researchers to engage in KT activities. Focusing attention on graduate student researchers can inform early interventions in order to shape future KT practices. The overall objective of this dissertation was to investigate the correlates that help explain graduate students’ intentions to participate in KT; specifically, research dissemination to audiences outside of the academic community. This form of KT activity was labelled as non-traditional research dissemination (NTD), to contrast it with the more familiar form of traditional research dissemination (TD) to academic audiences (e.g., peer-reviewed publications). This dissertation involved a mixed-methods approach with four phases that generated three papers addressing the study objectives. Using the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) as the framework, results from a focus group (n = 30) and pilot work led to the development of an online survey. Data from the online survey (n = 419) assessed the utility of the TPB global constructs (Paper 1) and specific beliefs (Paper 2) in predicting NTD and TD intentions among graduate students in health disciplines. A sub-sample (n = 16) participated in interviews further exploring perceptions of NTD (Paper 3). The integrated results provide evidence that the proposed augmented TPB model is a reasonable framework for understanding the influences of both TD and NTD intention. The findings point to four principal observations. First, most graduate students have a favorable attitude towards the benefits of NTD as a means to contribute and make a difference with their work. Second, low self-efficacy, minimal support from the research supervisor, and believing that other graduate students do not do this work, all serve as barriers to intention formations. Third, moral responsibility influences NTD intentions but not TD intentions. Finally, past experience and future career dissemination plans strongly influence intentions to participate during graduate school. Overall, this work highlights how these modifiable variables could be useful for guiding interventions and resources to promote KT participation.