Connecting for Care: a protocol for a mixed-method social network analysis to advance knowledge translation in the field of child development and rehabilitation
Sibley, Kathryn M.
de Camargo, Olaf K.
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Abstract Background Connections between individuals and organizations can impact knowledge translation (KT). This finding has led to growing interest in the study of social networks as drivers of KT. Social networks are formed by the patterns of relationships or connections generated through interactions. These connections can be studied using social network analysis (SNA) methodologies. The relatively small yet diverse community in the field of child development and rehabilitation (CD&R) in Canada offers an ideal case study for applying SNA. The purposes of this work are to (1) quantify and map the structure of Canadian CD&R KT networks among four groups: families, health care providers, KT support personnel, and researchers; (2) explore participant perspectives of the network structure and of KT barriers and facilitators within it; and (3) generate recommendations to improve KT capacity within and between groups. Aligning with the principles of integrated KT, we have assembled a national team whose members contribute throughout the research and KT process, with representation from the four participant groups. Methods A sequential, explanatory mixed-method study, within the bounds of a national case study in the field of CD&R. Objective 1: A national SNA survey of family members with advocacy/partnership experience, health care providers, KT support personnel, and researchers, paired with an anonymous survey for family member without partnership experience, will gather data to describe the KT networks within and between groups and identify barriers and facilitators of network connections. Objective 2: Purposive sampling from Phase 1 will identify semi-structured interview participants with whom to examine conventional and network-driven KT barriers, facilitators, and mitigating strategies. Objective 3: Intervention mapping and a Delphi process will generate recommendations for network and conventional interventions to strengthen the network and facilitate KT. Discussion This study will integrate network and KT theory in mapping the structure of the CD&R KT network, enhance our understanding of conventional and network-focused KT barriers and facilitators, and provide recommendations to strengthen KT networks. Recommendations can be applied and tested within the field of CD&R to improve KT, with the aim of ensuring children achieve the best health outcomes possible through timely access to effective healthcare.