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Table 4 Results of the Focus Group with Principal Investigators

From: A mixed-methods approach to understanding partnership experiences and outcomes of projects from an integrated knowledge translation funding model in rehabilitation

Overarching themes Nested categories Excerpts
Individual projects are framed within a broad vision of research A project is a piece of a larger research project Research is on the 5 to 10-year plan, so [projects] are just pieces of bigger programs for which the funding was extremely useful Well they are taking a piece of a larger project With one year projects, if you don’t continue on, there is no way to have any long-term or very extensive evaluation of impacts
KT framework as essential It needs to be framed within a larger project where this creation of knowledge will serve to be implemented You need to word it in a knowledge translation framework […] You need to frame it in terms of knowledge translation
Planning ahead for sustainability I would take that end part of the grant application where you look at future directions very seriously, as opposed to saying a couple publications here. Consider whether a publication is really the end point of this. If you don’t know where you’re going with your project, you’re not going to get there. So, you have to design the project from the end and sort of say where do I want to go and what piece is this. We already know that we have to think about sustainability right from the beginning or at least where its going to lead in the future. It basically died after the funding period ended […] So, sustainability is a real issue.
We can’t measure everything Lessons learned by researchers This is research, not everything is going to work out, but if you don’t try, and the lessons learned, with all due respect, you learn those lessons even if you apply those in 5 years […] You learned how to engage a group, the continuity is in you, that is where the continuity is. There are learning lessons also that come from, at least from one of the projects where it was very challenging to recruit. They help plan future projects that we want to take. It is part of a larger project, so these are actually very useful for us to learn and improve on what we are doing
Project leader as an agent of change What is not really measured is the change in attitude and their engagement. I think it is very significant and I’m quite sure would have significant and important impact in their respective practice with their colleagues [Clinicians] feel more empowered to changing.
The unknown impact of dissemination strategies There are a lot of outcomes that may not be so tangible that we may not continue to measure and we don’t know whether things have changed, attitudes or practices that have been implemented in different ways. A lot of what I’ve learned in these projects has informed students in my teaching.
Ambiguity around defining success Success That may be actually an important aspect in terms of judging the success of the project, as where the intended impact is expected to happen. I mentioned I was involved in a current project the goal was to produce a meta-analysis. There I would say, publication of that data would be a successful project because the goal is not to impact a specific group of clinicians at a specific centre, but to distribute a certain better analyzed knowledge wide It’s not necessarily a project that gets finished but a project that leads to something more. So I think it was successful in the sense it was published and we understand, we moved forward. But not yet successful in the way that we really changed practice. It was just the beginning. So successful, ‘yeah, we published and understood’. But not yet, ‘yeah I’m happy I’m done, we are just starting’. If a project has an ending, I’m not sure it’s a successful knowledge translation project.
Failures I thought it wasn’t successful because the student did not finish and did not produce publications The project I was involved in was not necessarily successfully even if we reached all the goals we had set out, simply because there was no follow-up to those goals. There is no such thing as failure. Because...The whole [research program] is not going to fall apart because of your one study
Building partnerships with clinicians and clinical program directors Clinical context as a significant driver Right now, the current funding, the way things are, you don’t have time for research. […] you just see so many patients a day and that’s the reality. [clinicians] can have ideas, but you know they are not going to have the time free to do it. The system just doesn’t allow it. These higher level structural organizational kinds of things do make a big difference and can really help get clinicians on board. We used to have a salary award by foundation, this has been suspended for two years now. But the salary award program was very successful.
Understanding clinician motivation Engaging with clinicians, engaging with other partners, I think that as a group, we need to think about what’s in it for them. Like what are the people going to get out of it that’s going to make it sustainable, and you know, participation, and you know, that sort of thing, and making it clear on that. This is called motivation, it is the effort against the outcome. So maybe the outcome was not high enough for the effort. I think we have to kind of think of that. In terms of how much effort are we asking our people to do and what is the outcome for them.
Feasibility of projects co-led by clinicians The questions that are being raised by clinicians are pretty unviable. And you know the methodology that you need to ask them is like impossible, like beyond the scope. They tend to be asking impossible questions, like questions that are very high level […] almost policy level questions. That’s part of the disconnect between what they want to get out of it and the reality of what they can achieve.