Engaging policy-makers, heath system managers, and policy analysts in the knowledge synthesis process: a scoping review

Andrea C. Tricco1,2* , Wasifa Zarin1, Patricia Rios1, Vera Nincic1, Paul A. Khan1, Marco Ghassemi1, Sanober Diaz1, Ba’ Pham1, Sharon E. Straus3 and Etienne V. Langlois4
Publication date: 
1 April 2018


After screening 8395 titles and abstracts followed by 394 full-texts, 84 unique documents and 7 companion reports fulfilled our eligibility criteria. All 84 documents were published in the last 10 years, and half were prepared in North America. The most common type of knowledge synthesis with knowledge user engagement was a systematic review (36%). The knowledge synthesis most commonly addressed an issue at the level of national healthcare system  (48%) and focused on health services delivery (17%) in high-income countries (86%). Policy-makers were the most common (64%) knowledge users, followed by healthcare professionals (49%) and government agencies as well as patients and caregivers (34%). Knowledge users were engaged in onceptualization and design (49%), literature search and data collection (52%), data synthesis and interpretation (71%), and knowledge dissemination and application (44%). Knowledge users were most commonly engaged as key informants through meetings and workshops as well as surveys, focus groups, and interviews either in-person or by telephone and emails. Knowledge user content expertise/awareness was a common facilitator (18%), while lack of time or opportunity to participate was a common barrier (12%).