Knowledge User Engagement

InformationThere is no one size-fits-all approach to engaging knowledge users in your research or knowledge mobilization activities.


Follow the key principles of engagement:

  • The engagement should be purposeful for you and the knowledge users (Purposeful);
  • You should identify relevant knowledge users and make it easy for them to engage with you (Inclusive);
  • Knowledge users should be involved from the start and they must agree on when and how to engage (Timely);
  • The expectations from the engagement should be clear, open and honest (Transparent); and
  • The expertise, perspective and needs of the knowledge users should be acknowledged and respected (Respectful).


Follow these key steps for knowledge user engagement:

  • Think strategically about identifying the most relevant knowledge users;
  • Learn about the knowledge users and set objectives according to their expected level of engagement;
  • Build knowledge users’ capacity to engage;
  • Identify the most effective engagement approach according to the level of engagement and design the process;
  • Evaluate and report on outcomes from the engagement; and
  • Review and learn from the process.


Choose engagement activities according to the levels of engagement expected from the knowledge users:

  • Inform: one-way communication;
  • Consult: gain information and feedback from knowledge users;
  • Involve: knowledge users are involved throughout the process and learning takes place on both sides;
  • Collaborate: partner with knowledge users in the development of common agreed upon solutions and joint plan of action. Knowledge users work together to take action;
  • Empower: knowledge users are responsible for decision-making and are equipped to contribute to the achievement of outcomes.


Learn more about how to engage with knowledge users

  • Policy Engagement and Communication Toolkit - Results for Development developed a toolkit that contains resources and materials to help plan, package and disseminate research.
  • Self-evaluation tool for action in partnership - Health Nexus
  • Implementing Evidence-Informed Practice: a practical Toolkit - Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health
    This toolkit offers information, strategies and resources related to implementation of evidence-informed practice. Topics found in this toolkit refers to building leadership support for practice change, engaging stakeholders and managing change.
  • Key elements for implementing community mobilization efforts - Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health
    This web page offers information about the process of mobilizing a community toward practice change. You will find a list of key elements to consider when implementing community mobilization efforts.
  • Community Engagement  - HC Link
    This resource describes various levels and types of community engagement, outlines important considerations, and provides tips on how to develop and manage a successful community engagement effort.
  • National Co-Ordinating Centre for Public Engagement - Information and resources to helps universities engage with the public
  • Stakeholder Engagement Guide of Guides - Kids Brain Health Network
    This document is a guide containing information on stakeholder engagement, how to do stakeholder engagement, how to evaluate the outcome of stakeholder engagement and a practical worksheet to help researchers plan for stakeholder engagement.
  • Guidance on co-producing a research project - National Institute for Health Research
    This document explains the key principles and features of co-producing a research project and suggests ways to realise the principles and key features.
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