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Bridging the 'Know-Do' Gap

Bridging the 'Know-Do' Gap: Knowledge brokering to improve child wellbeing

Edited by Gabriele Bammer
Annette Michaux
Ann Sanson
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Bridging the 'Know-Do' Gap
    Book Description:

    Today's children are tomorrow's citizens. Good health and well-being in the early years are the foundations for well-adjusted and productive adult lives and a thriving society. But children are being let down in Australia and elsewhere by the lack of knowledge transfer between the worlds of research, policy and practice. Improving such transfer is the job of knowledge brokers - the various ways they can operate are explored in this book through case examples and the lessons learned from experienced proponents. The book concludes by posing three sets of ideas to shape the future of knowledge brokering.

    eISBN: 978-1-921666-41-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    J. Fraser Mustard
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Gabriele Bammer, Annette Michaux and Ann Sanson

    Our children are our future. Good health and wellbeing in the early years are the foundations of well-adjusted and productive adult lives and fully functioning societies. How can we minimise disease, stop neglect and abuse and provide safe, nurturing environments? Such questions exercise the minds of members of the community at large, policymakers, the providers of various services, researchers and young people themselves. We can think of these five groups as a pentagon of stakeholders. One major challenge is to devise ways for these five groups to work in synchrony. Does synchrony matter so much? The answer is a resounding...

  6. Setting the scene

    • 1. Improving the wellbeing of Australian children and youth: the importance of bridging the know–do gap
      (pp. 3-18)
      Ann Sanson and Fiona Stanley

      This chapter seeks to place the need for knowledge sharing in the context of children and youth growing up in Australia today. We present evidence of the disturbing lack of progress in improving the life chances of our young people, including continuing if not accelerating socio-demographic inequalities, and describe how a determination to address these issues led to the creation of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY). We emphasise the critical importance of an evidence-based approach to policy and practice in improving children’s life chances and describe some of the obstacles to the uptake of knowledge, such...

  7. Cases of successful knowledge brokering

    • 2. Integrating knowledge in service delivery-land: a view from The Benevolent Society
      (pp. 21-36)
      Annette Michaux

      This chapter offers a practice perspective on three main themes. The first is the importance of learning collaborations and partnerships that move beyond access to knowledge to engagement with and use of learning, and some of the barriers that non-profit practice organisations experience in these interactions. Second, the chapter examines the contribution of non-profit organisations to policy and research due to their connection to communities; and third, the chapter outlines examples of initiatives that illustrate strategies facilitating the mediation of knowledge across sectoral and organisational boundaries.

      At nearly 200 years old, The Benevolent Society is Australia’s oldest non-profit organisation. It...

    • 3. Building knowledge futures for cerebral palsy: examples from The Spastic Centre
      (pp. 37-54)
      Robyn Cummins

      The knowledge-brokering field has traditionally involved a triad of stakeholders: researchers, practitioners and policymakers. The Spastic Centre has a record of successful knowledge sharing and brokering in these realms, but is increasingly aware of two additional stakeholder groups with a growing influence in the field: consumers and the corporate sector. The Spastic Centre is an organisation attuned to the benefits of knowledge brokering and is now engaged in activities involving all five of these groups.

      Cerebral palsy is a permanent physical condition that affects movement. There are approximately 11 000 people in New South Wales with cerebral palsy and an...

    • 4. Making research more relevant to policy: evidence and suggestions
      (pp. 55-64)
      Meredith Edwards

      Dr Peter Shergold, in launching a book on Ideas and Influence (2005), referred to the ‘fragility of relationships’ as it applies to public policy and the social sciences. He observed that ‘[t]he relationships between social science and public policy, and between academic and public servant, are ones of the utmost importance’. He went on to say, however: ‘They are not, I think, in particularly good shape’ (Shergold 2005:2). He elaborated little but could have gone on to mention, as others have (for example, Blunkett 2000), that academic research often deals with issues that are not central to or really relevant...

    • 5. KnowledgExchange: a knowledge-brokering initiative in the Victorian child and family welfare sector
      (pp. 65-76)
      Cathy Humphreys and Richard Vines

      The words used by the anonymous stem-cell researcher could apply equally to the challenges of knowledge brokering in the children and families sector. Our knowledge base in the area is undoubtedly increasing; however, the ability to translate and use aspects of this knowledge base in practice in ways that make a difference to the lives of children and young people and their families remains a constant challenge.

      This chapter initially describes a broad-based knowledge-brokering initiative in Victoria. It then concentrates on one aspect of this program: the way in which the information technology infrastructure for the sector and particularly the...

    • 6. The art and science of influence: reflections from the boundary
      (pp. 77-90)
      Sharon Goldfeld

      In Malcom Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference (2002), he outlines how focusing on a number of key principles can assist in using evidence-based ideas (for example, the effects of climate change) to create social change. These three principles are centred on: 1) the law of the few—social change is often heavily dependent on a few people who are leaders, assisted by others who connect with and transmit the message; 2) the ‘stickiness factors’—special characteristics of a message that render it so memorable that the message ‘sticks’; and 3) the power...

    • 7. Creating and implementing largescale parenting education programs: bridging research, decision making and practice
      (pp. 91-106)
      Linda Neuhauser

      There is increasing evidence that interventions during pregnancy and early childhood can profoundly affect children’s long-term health and wellbeing (Case et al. 2005; Gomby et al. 1995; Heckman 2000; Karoly et al. 1998; McCain and Mustard 2002). For example, parents’ knowledge and practices related to health care, bonding with their baby, nutrition, smoking, safety and other factors have a strong influence on children’s healthy development (License 2004; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network 2000; Shonkoff and Philips 2000; Shore 1997). Research shows that parenting education is effective, including the more affordable approaches that use mass communication (Neuhauser et al. 2007a)....

  8. Future considerations

    • 8. From knowledge transfer to knowledge sharing? Towards better links between research, policy and practice
      (pp. 109-124)
      Brian Head

      Why is there such a wave of interest in the processes of knowledge transfer, knowledge translation and knowledge brokering? What social and organisational problems seem to require these processes? We all believe that better knowledge, wider understanding and enhanced cooperation will generally lead to better outcomes. Achieving these broad objectives is, however, difficult. In the modern world, we suffer from the dilemma of being information rich and time poor. We are often aware that others have important insights to complement our own perspectives, but the transaction costs of access and engagement are often so high that more cooperative approaches to...

    • 9. Knowledge, power and politics
      (pp. 125-134)
      Michael Moore

      In 1597, British philosopher Francis Bacon, in meditating on religion and heresies, recognised the integral relationship between knowledge and power with his statement ‘knowledge is power’. Although community benefit can often be derived from sharing knowledge, Bacon’s insight helps explain why politicians and their bureaucrats are often reluctant to make knowledge broadly available. The pervasive approach to sharing of knowledge within the bureaucratic and political arenas is one of reluctance. It is a measured and considered process that is carefully designed to avoid undermining the use of power.

      There is invariably a tension between different groups and individuals who would...

    • 10. Expanding the deliberations about the research–policy gap: useful ideas from the literature
      (pp. 135-156)
      Gabriele Bammer, Lyndall Strazdins, David McDonald, Helen Berry, Alison Ritter, Peter Deane and Lorrae van Kerkhoff

      Concern is mounting nationally and globally about the wellbeing of children and young people, with governments under increasing pressure to develop effective policies. There is considerable interest in how researchers can best support policymakers in this enterprise. This chapter presents the results of a reading, discussion and writing group that examined an eclectic range of literature for insights into improving research–policy interactions. The chapter is based on evaluating our experiences in research–policy interactions against ideas generated by reading about 200 books and journal articles.

      Each of us is involved in research that seeks to influence policy—in Australia,...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 157-164)