Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The researchers’ role in knowledge translation: a realist evaluation of the development and implementation of diagnostic pathways for cancer in two UK localities

This is the latest version of this item.

Banks, Jon, Wye, Lesley, Hall, Nicola, Rooney, James, Walter, Fiona, Hamilton, Willie, Gjini, Ardiana and Rubin, Greg (2017) The researchers’ role in knowledge translation: a realist evaluation of the development and implementation of diagnostic pathways for cancer in two UK localities. Health Research Policy and Systems, 15 (103). ISSN 1478-4505

Item Type: Article


In examining an initiative to develop and implement new cancer diagnostic pathways in two English localities, this paper evaluates ‘what works’ and examines the role of researchers in facilitating knowledge translation amongst teams of local clinicians and policymakers.
Using realist evaluation with a mixed methods case study approach, we conducted documentary analysis of meeting minutes and pathway iterations to map pathway development. We interviewed 14 participants to identify the contexts, mechanisms and outcomes (CMOs) that led to successful pathway development and implementation. Interviews were analysed thematically and four CMO configurations were developed.
One site produced three fully implemented pathways while the other produced two that were partly implemented. In explaining the differences, we found that a respected, independent, well-connected leader modelling partnership-working who facilitates a local, stable group that agree about the legitimacy of the data and project (context) can empower local teams to become sufficiently autonomous (mechanism) to develop and implement research-based pathways (outcome). Although both teams designed relevant, research-based cancer pathways, the research team assisted where the pathways were successfully implemented while in the other the research team drove the initiative.
Based on our study findings, local stakeholders can apply local and research knowledge to develop and implement research-based pathways. However, success will depend on how academics empower local teams to create autonomy. After re-packaging and translating research for local circumstances, identifying fertile environments with the right elements for implementation and developing collaborative relationships with local leaders, crucially academics then have to step back.
Knowledge translation; realist evaluation; qualitative research; diagnostic pathways for cancer

PDF (published version)
Banks_et_al-2017-Health_Research_Policy_and_Systems.pdf - Published Version

Download (595kB) | Preview

More Information

Depositing User: Nicola Hall


Item ID: 8525
ISSN: 1478-4505
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Nicola Hall: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 12:09
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:05


Author: Nicola Hall ORCID iD
Author: Jon Banks
Author: Lesley Wye
Author: James Rooney
Author: Fiona Walter
Author: Willie Hamilton
Author: Ardiana Gjini
Author: Greg Rubin

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Sciences > Health Sciences
Social Sciences

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Available Versions of this Item