This article, written by Esther Mc Sween-Cadieux, Christian Dagenais, Paul-André Somé and Valéry Ridde, was published on June 2nd, 2017, in the Volume 15, issue 1 of the Health Research Policy and Systems Journal. It presents observations and implications of a workshop held in Burkina Faso and the effects it produced on research results use and the processes that facilitated, or not, the application of the knowledge transmitted.
Background: In Burkina Faso, malaria remains the primary cause of healthcare use, morbidity and child mortality. Therefore, efforts are needed to support the knowledge transfer and application of the results of numerous studies to better formulate and implement programs in the fight against the malaria pandemic. To this end, a 2-day dissemination workshop was held to share the most recent results produced by a multidisciplinary research team. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the workshop and the policy briefs distributed there, the effects these produced on research results use and the processes that facilitated, or not, the application of the knowledge transmitted.
Methods: A mixed-methods design was used. The data were drawn from a quantitative evaluation questionnaire completed after the workshop (n = 25/31) and qualitative interviews conducted with the researchers and various actors who attended the workshop (n = 11) and with participants in working groups (n = 40) that later analysed the policy briefs distributed at the workshop.
Results: The participants recognised the quality of the research results presented, but felt that more needed to be done to adapt the researchers’ language and improve the functioning of the workshop. The potential effects of the workshop were rather limited. Effects were mainly at two levels: individual (e.g. acquisition of new knowledge, personal awareness raising) and local (e.g. change of practice in a local non-governmental organisation). Most participants perceived the utility of the research results, but several reported that their narrow decisional power limited their ability to apply this knowledge.
Conclusions: This study showed the importance of workshops to inform key actors of research results and the need to undertake several different activities to increase the chances that the knowledge will be applied. Several recommendations are proposed to improve knowledge translation approaches in the West African context, including organising working and discussion groups, developing an action plan at the end of the workshop and offering support to participants after the workshop, among others.
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