The use of social network analysis to examine knowledge translation opportunities across organizational networks


Little is known about how to facilitate the dissemination of national movement (i.e., physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep) behaviour guidelines across professional and research networks. Social network analysis (SNA) is the study of relationships among social units (i.e., individuals, groups, or organizations) and is useful for understanding how social structures facilitate or impede knowledge translation (KT) processes. A SNA approach has not been previously used to examine network properties that may influence the dissemination of national movement guidelines across organizational networks. The purpose of this study was to apply SNA to (1) identify organizations in the KT network for Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults, (2) examine attributes of influential organizations in the KT network, and (3) identify gaps in information exchange across the KT network. Organizations involved in the development and dissemination of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults were invited to complete an online survey to examine relationships among organizations that have disseminated or have the potential to disseminate national-level movement guidelines. Data were analyzed using UCINET v6 to explore network features. A network map was created and descriptive frequencies were calculated. In total, 34 organizations completed the survey and reported a total of 228 organizational ties. The overall network score for density was 0.7% demonstrating a lack of integration across organizations in the KT network. Findings demonstrate the utility of SNA for examining relationships across an organizational network. Practically, these findings may be used to build network capacity for future movement guideline dissemination efforts.

Acknowledgments: This work was made possible through funding provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. The authors would like to acknowledge the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults Consensus Panel and Knowledge Translation Advisory Committee members for their collaboration and contributions to this project.