Knowledge Translation Platform Increasing Use of Research Evidence in Physical Activity Policy Making - A Case Study in Finland

  •  Riitta-Maija Hämalainen    


BACKGROUND: Knowledge Translation Platform (KTP) in partnerships between policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers was established in order to enhance evidence-informed policymaking on physical activity. The article aims to give answers to specific questions, such as what were the main knowledge translation tools to improve access to research evidence in physical activity policy in Finland; which factors facilitated the improvements in use of research evidence, and what kind of procedures were implemented to improve the use of research evidence in policy making.

METHODS: The study triangulated qualitative data from documents, reviews and observations of meetings between 2012 and 2013. Purposive sampling of meeting documents was used and data was analysed using a thematic content analysis of documents.

RESULTS: KTP contributed to an increased awareness of the importance of the use of research evidence in physical activity policymaking, and strengthened relationships between policymakers, stakeholders and researchers. Support from policymakers and professionals as well as a window of opportunity facilitated KTP activities. Based on the KTP experience, institutionalization within the government could help to keep the use of research evidence high on the agenda.

CONCLUSIONS: The case study provided unique insights into what counts for developing use of research evidence in policymaking. The expectations of the public policy were to give a larger role to evidence-informed policymaking, but expectations conflicted between the interests of various stakeholders. The establishment of KTP was a promising development in supporting the use of research evidence in physical activity policymaking. Real-time lesson drawing from the experiences of KTP can support improvements in the functioning of KTP in the short term, while making the case for sustaining their work in the long term.

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