Comparison of the Use of Self-Report Surveys and Organizational Documents in Knowledge Translation Research

  • Jennifer A Boyko Brock University McMaster University
  • Maureen Dobbins McMaster
  • Kara DeCorby McMaster
  • Steven Hanna McMaster


We compared the same outcome data obtained from two different sources (self-report surveys and organizational documents) in order to understand more about evaluating the effect of knowledge translation strategies on evidence-informed decision making. Our data came from a randomized controlled trial that evaluated the impact of knowledge translation strategies on promoting evidence-informed decision making in public health units across Canada. We found that: self-report surveys identified more outcome data than organizational documents; the types of documents that identified the most outcome data were evaluation plans, operational plans, work plans and evaluation data; the types of documents that identified the least outcome data were meeting minutes, statistics/annual reports and strategic plans; and, evaluation plans, operational plans and work plans together provide more outcome data than other combinations. Overall, our study suggests that evidence-informed decision making may be appropriately measured by using multiple data sources in order to compare data across sources and to gain a more accurate representation of the results. Our findings also suggest that if organizational documents are used as a source of data in knowledge translation research, then specific types should be used in order to maximize the likelihood of identifying measures of effectiveness.

Author Biographies

Jennifer A Boyko, Brock University McMaster University
Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario, L2S 3A1
Maureen Dobbins, McMaster

Associate Professor, School of Nursing; Joint Member, School of Rehabilitation Science and Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics; Scientific Director, National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools; McMaster University.

Kara DeCorby, McMaster
Administrative Director,; Assistant Clinical Professor; McMaster University.
Steven Hanna, McMaster
Professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics; McMaster University.