THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION CHANNELS FOR KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION IN A COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATION
Gainforth, Heather Louise
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Knowledge mobilization has been described as putting research in the hands of research users. Few studies have examined knowledge mobilization within community-based organizations (CBOs). To address this research gap, this dissertation examines knowledge mobilization within a CBO that supports people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Research suggests that communication channels, or the means by which a message is delivered, may affect knowledge mobilization. This dissertation presents four manuscripts examining how communication channels were used by the CBO to disseminate physical activity guidelines and intervention strategies to people with SCI. Manuscript 1 investigated reach and effectiveness of an event-based knowledge mobilization initiative delivered by the CBO using interpersonal communication channels to disseminate the guidelines to people with SCI. Results indicated that the event-based knowledge mobilization initiative was effective for initial dissemination of the guidelines. However, further long-term efforts are needed. Manuscript 2 describes how the event-based knowledge mobilization initiative was implemented by the CBO. Recognizing that support personnel are important messengers, the reach and effectiveness of the initiative for persuading support personnel to disseminate the guidelines was examined. Results indicated that an event-based knowledge mobilization initiative can be implemented by a CBO and may be an effective strategy for CBOs to disseminate information to support personnel. Manuscript 3 further examined the role of communication channels in the process of knowledge mobilization within the CBO using network analysis. Results indicated that CBO staff and volunteers’ integration within interpersonal communication channels was associated with greater knowledge of evidence-based physical activity resources and engagement in physical activity promotion behaviours. Manuscript 4 examined the feasibility of training peers with SCI to learn an evidence-based approach to physical activity promotion called Brief Action Planning. Findings indicated that Brief Action Planning is a tool that can be feasibly learned and potentially used by peers to promote physical activity to their mentees through interpersonal communication channels. Overall this dissertation contributes to a small but emerging body of literature examining knowledge mobilization in CBOs. Findings indicate that through a community-university multidisciplinary partnership and appropriate communication channels, a CBO can effectively and feasibly disseminate evidence-based physical activity information.