Knowledge Mobilization in a College Context: Constructing Meaning in Applied Research Communication

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  • Knowledge mobilization (KMb) is the communication process by which researchers engage with stakeholders to produce, co-produce, and share knowledge. The question of how researchers can better mobilize knowledge at each stage of the research process has become a matter of acute
    public and academic interest. Yet existing research indicates that researchers are often reticent to engage with non-academic stakeholders; studies have found many do not have the necessary time, skills, or resources. Furthermore, most research on KMb has focused on large institutions or a university context, despite the fact that Canada’s colleges also produce a significant proportion of Canadian research. This study investigated college researchers’ understandings of and approaches to KMb using in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Eleven participants representing six Canadian community colleges and polytechnic institutes were interviewed about their approaches to KMb and the institutional or systemic factors that influence how they perceive KMb and carry out KMb activities. Participants defined KMb as a complex, reciprocal process with the potential to elevate their field, solve problems, and inform important decisions. Key KMb facilitators identified by the participants included low professional pressure to publish academically, which freed up time and resources for non-traditional approaches to KMb; funding structures that incentivize effective and ongoing KMb; and strong collaborations with other college departments, especially communications and marketing. Barriers included challenges to academic freedom, long delays caused by institutional and legal oversight of KMb, and certain gaps in funding opportunities.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International