Library Services


Can knowledge mobilisation help you?

28 November 2023

David Green, Evidence Services Librarian at the Royal Free Hospital Medical Library, introduces knowledge mobilisation, a key concept in the healthcare sector that is celebrated every November during KNOWvember.

A group of medics in white lab coats participate in knowledge exchange.

Knowledge mobilisation can help your clinical practice and research.

What is knowledge mobilisation?

Knowledge mobilisation (KMb), otherwise known as knowledge transformation, is the way in which knowledge or evidence is used in a meaningful way in an organisation or community, the way in which it is practically implemented or engrained in an organisation or community, and moreover, the way it is retained by that organisation or community.

Originating in the business, education and social science disciplines, it is also loosely defined as the ‘pathway to impact’.
It involves two-way communication, promoting discourse about, and collaboration on value and relevance, with the aim to retain, or to further disseminate knowledge. As such, it is more than knowledge dissemination (one-way communication) which follows from research or teaching.

KMb is undertaken by many groups and individuals in the NHS, including researchers, guideline authors, policy makers and managers.

End users (public, patients, families and employees) can also foster KMb through the two-way process.

Why is knowledge mobilisation important?

KMb helps people to use information (knowledge/evidence) in a thought-out way. It helps to raise awareness, brings about change, and puts what we know into active use.

In the case of clinical or scientific evidence, it can improve uptake, and help identify what type of evidence are needed for effective healthcare, making use of the experience of practitioners, as well as the experience of people and families.

The benefits of KMb cannot be understated:

  • it helps people to both understand and use knowledge,
  • it guides research policy and practice in order to improve outcomes,
  • it can even assist shaping of research to tailor to the needs of users.

How can I use knowledge mobilisation?

The way in which KMb is introduced determines the effectiveness of knowledge transfer or retention:

  • It could take the form of a mid-dissemination meeting, giving stakeholders (practitioners, end-users) an opportunity to discuss research findings, and ask questions. 
  • A researcher trying to communicate their findings might choose to go via an intermediary or go through a community. 
  • It can be done by poster or presentation, but the aim should be to get buy-in and to get stakeholders on-board. 

There is an element of exchange; the researcher or manager should try and show what they are bringing, to help colleagues or end-users, in practice, to think about opportunities and challenges.

How can Library Services help you with this?

Library Services seeks to train and advise practitioners and researchers in the area of KMb. Please contact your home librarian if you would like to know more about tools and techniques to mobilise knowledge.

The KNOWvember logo

NHS England’s Knowledge Mobilisation Framework

NHS England (NHSE) have put together some materials, promoting the uptake of knowledge mobilisation. The Knowledge Mobilisation Framework (KMF) allows learning before and after a piece of work, in the workplace, and encourages knowledge exchange, whereas the Knowledge Mobilisation Toolkit includes tools to harvest, retain or transfer knowledge, to enable an organisation to identify its own strengths and weaknesses.