The Knowledge Uptake and Use Tool


Measurement of the take-up and use of information may be the most important measurement focus in the vast array of indicators that have emerged over the past 20 plus years. Beyond simple observation of the amount of interest in this type of indicator, it is logically a ‘keystone’ indicator for most performance frameworks. A good measure of the take-up and use of information is most often the vital link between what an organization or program puts out, and what a target recipient, client or stakeholder does with the information which in turn links to mission achievement and desired impacts.

Enter Canadian Kelly Skinner. In 2007 – the then doctoral student in the Department of Health Studies at University of Waterloo attempted to tackle the research vs adoption of ‘better’ practices gap in diabetes treatment by conducting extensive research and developing a rating system based on the work of Knott and Wildavsky (1980).[1] This study carefully considered approaches over time and developed and pilot tested a model survey which distils the concept of take-up and use into a sequence of easy to answer questions.

In 2017 – Performance and Planning Exchange chose to contribute support to Dr. Skinner and her prime researcher Dr Jasmin Bhawra to conduct a scoping review (see link below) and early user review (publication pending) to go along with a number of volunteer trials to hone the tool for various uses and purposes.

Our Progress

We are making strong progress towards the goals noted above. PPX assistance has helped leverage support from other groups such as University of Waterloo and others in both direct funding and in-kind contributions – with more to come. Groups using evolved versions of the survey are numerous and growing. The following list summarizes key papers and presentations over the past several years:

Our Research Objectives

Like all research – precise outcomes are elusive – however the following potential results of the work seemed plausible and were laid out in 2017 at the onset of funding:

  1. Raise community understanding and practice in the definition and measurement of the take-up and use of information in support of various mission work.
  2. Engage a diverse set of groups in a common quest – thereby promoting healthy, heterogeneous interactions and exchange.
  3. Advancement of leading edge thinking and knowledge around the take-up and use of information.
  4. The development of a community acceptance and use of a common set of principles and possibly a core tool for measuring the take-up and use of information – across policy areas.
  5. Change to how people see the process of research and development of performance measures and tools in terms of community engagement and support.

For more information +/or to get involved

We consider this work and survey to be shareable on an ‘open source’ basis. For more information on study trials, the survey and/or how you can be involved – please contact: ; (lead and primary researcher) (PPX research lead and streamlined version co-developer)

[1] Skinner, Kelly Developing a Tool to Measure Knowledge Exchange Outcomes Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation Vol 22 No 1, pg 49-73 2007