There are a number of books that could be captured under the broad rubric of knowledge mobilization. These include The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Practice; Community University Partnerships in Practice and Knowledge Mobilization in the Social Sciences and Humanities. All have their strengths but one book that I can highly recommend is Using Evidence – How Research Can Inform Public Services by Sandra Nutley and her colleagues Isabel Walter and Huw T.O. Davies from the Research Unit on Research utilization (University of Edinburgh).
This book is an exhaustive survey of the research utilization literature and includes chapters on the meaning of research use, factors that influence research use, models of research use, strategies to enhance research use (in policy and in practice) and evaluating research use. Of particular use is the extensive bibliography (33 pages long) underscoring the thorough nature of the review and providing lots more material to review should the reader wish to go to the source. Using real examples this book presents different models of research utilization showing the weaknesses of linear models of research utilization in favour of iterative and interactive models. Importantly the book describes research utilization as a cumulative, social undertaking which suggests efforts to enhance research utilization need to focus on active engagement of researchers and research users over passive producer push methods that provide enhanced access to research evidence. Chapter 9 (“How can we assess research use and wider research impact”) summarizes the literature on evaluating the impact of research utilization and strategies to enhance research use; however, this chapter starts out “To date, studies of research use and research impact have shed much interesting light on the former but have to make significant inroads into the latter”. Not overly satisfying for those looking for the magic formula to evaluate research impact but an honest evaluation of the literature nonetheless.
This book is not an easy read but it is an important read and a must have companion for everyone interested in knowledge mobilization as a vehicle for enhancing research utilization.