KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION

Welcome to Knowledge Mobilization! Please join us in developing these different ways of sharing our wisdom with each other! See “Knowledge Mobilization and ARNA” for comments on the CARN-ARNA 2016 Study Day at Highlander Education and Research Center. Warm Regards, Lonnie Rowell

ARNA KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION: A CONTRIBUTION TO DEMOCRATIZING KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: An Introduction

By Lonnie Rowell, Chair, ARNA Knowledge Mobilization Group
August 1, 2016

“The simplest way I describe knowledge mobilization is a question: How do we make the best of what we know, ready for other people to use, so they can create new value? We are overwhelmed with data and information.Knowledge mobilization seeks to engage in more appropriate socialization of findings from research and practice so that people can make better decisions.”
Peter Norman Levesque, President, Institute for Knowledge Mobilization, Ottawa, Canada

Canada’s Peter Levesque provided the delicious sample above to an interested graduate student writing him from China and asking for some clarification so that she could better understand the concept. Knowledge mobilization (KMb) is often defined as the meaningful use of evidence and expertise to align research, policy and practice and improve outcomes for children, youth, and families. Action researchers, like researchers in general, have a stake in knowledge mobilization, and those engaged in action research know intrinsically that their work is focused on strengthening practice and improving outcomes for the groups they work with.[i] At its core, KMb involves knowledge sharing between research producers (e.g. university researchers) and research users (including professionals or others whose work can benefit from research findings), often with the help of third parties or intermediaries[ii]. The concept has grown out of increasing recognition that verified empirical knowledge should be the basis for policies and practices in a variety of social sectors, including education and social services. KMb thus fits within the long-standing concern in the social sciences with bridging the gap between research and practice. The beauty of the quote from Levesque, who has been working on Knowledge Mobilization efforts for 15 years now, is the link he articulates between knowledge, research, values, and decision-making. In other words, in a democratic society it is not just knowledge-informed practice that is at stake when policies are set in the public sector; rather, the decision-making always reflects the state of our values and the nature of our commitments to civil society.

Concern with Knowledge mobilization has been a part of ARNA’s mission and operations since the founding of the network in 2012. The founding of ARNA came through a shared recognition on the part of the five “network initiators” (Cathy Bruce, Eduardo Flores-Kastanis, Margaret Riel, Lonnie Rowell, and Joe Shosh) that action was needed to better position action researchers in relation to the use of evidence and expertise in shaping social policies, in particular in education. Because in a broad sense it appeared to ARNA’s initiators that virtually everything we were doing – from the launch of a website, to the organizing of our first two annual conferences, the establishment of conference proceedings, and the initiation of digital storytelling as a part of the website – was a part of knowledge mobilization, we dove into the work of creating ARNA comfortable in the assumption that the work fit within a framework of mobilizing knowledge associated with action research. We now are revisiting the issue of Knowledge Mobilization within ARNA and we invite members to connect with our KMb Team as we prepare to issue a major report in conjunction with the ARNA 2017 Conference. If you are interested in participating in the dialogue, here are two steps for you to consider: 1) read the attached pdf document found belpw; 2) contact Lonnie Rowell at lrowell8881@gmail.com.

[i] See, for example, Rowell, Polush, Riel, & Bruewer (2014). Action researchers’ perspectives about the distinguishing characteristics of action research: A Delphi and learning circles mixed-methods study. Educational Action Research, 23(2), pp. 243–270.

[ii] A helpful source: http://www.kmbtoolkit.ca/what-is-kmb; also, useful background information can be found at: Wikipedia (September 26, 2015): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_mobilization#cite_note-9