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Optimising the process of knowledge mobilisation in Communities of Practice: recommendations from a (multi-method) qualitative study

Swaithes, L; Paskins, Z; Quicke, JG; Stevenson, K; Fell, K; Dziedzic, K

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JG Quicke

K Stevenson

K Fell


Background: Communities of Practice (CoPs) offer a strategy for mobilising knowledge and integrating evidence-based interventions into musculoskeletal practice, yet little is known about their practical application in this context. This study aimed to i) explore the process of knowledge mobilisation in the context of a CoP to implement evidence-based interventions in musculoskeletal care, and ii) co-develop recommendations to optimise the process of knowledge mobilisation in CoPs. Methods: A qualitative study comprising observation of a CoP and related planning meetings (n=5), and interviews with CoP stakeholders (including clinicians, lay members, managers, commissioners, academics) (n=15) was undertaken. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and interpreted considering the Integrated Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services theory. Public contributors were collaboratively involved at key stages of the study. Results: Four themes were identified: Identifying and interpreting knowledge; practical implementation of a CoP; culture and relationship building; and responding to external context. Resource and infrastructure enabled the set-up, delivery and running of the CoP. Support for lay members is recommended to ensure effective participation and equity of power. CoP aims and purpose can develop iteratively, and this may enhance the ability to respond to contextual changes. Several recommendations for the practical application of CoPs are suggested to create the best environment for knowledge exchange and creation, support an equitable platform for participation, and help members to navigate and make sense of the CoP in a flexible way. Conclusion: This study identified how a CoP with diverse membership can promote partnership working at the intersection between knowledge and practice. Several important considerations for preparing for and operationalising the approach in implementation have been identified. Evaluation of the costs, effectiveness and impact of CoPs is needed to better understand the value added by the approach. More broadly, research is needed to explore the practical application of online CoPs and the role of international CoPs in optimising the uptake of innovations and best practice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 4, 2022
Publication Date Jan 26, 2023
Journal Implementation Science Communications
Print ISSN 2662-2211
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Article Number 11
Publisher URL


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