Does knowledge brokering improve the quality of rapid review proposals? A before and after study

Gabriel Moore, Sally Redman, Catherine D'Este, Steve Makkar, Tari Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Rapid reviews are increasingly being used to help policy makers access research in short time frames. A clear articulation of the review's purpose, questions, scope, methods and reporting format is thought to improve the quality and generalisability of review findings. The aim of the study is to explore the effectiveness of knowledge brokering in improving the perceived clarity of rapid review proposals from the perspective of potential reviewers. To conduct the study, we drew on the Evidence Check program, where policy makers draft a review proposal (a pre knowledge brokering proposal) and have a 1-hour session with a knowledge broker, who re-drafts the proposal based on the discussion (a post knowledge brokering proposal). Methods: We asked 30 reviewers who had previously undertaken Evidence Check reviews to examine the quality of 60 pre and 60 post knowledge brokering proposals. Reviewers were blind to whether the review proposals they received were pre or post knowledge brokering. Using a six-point Likert scale, reviewers scored six questions examining clarity of information about the review's purpose, questions, scope, method and format and reviewers' confidence that they could meet policy makers' needs. Each reviewer was allocated two pre and two post knowledge brokering proposals, randomly ordered, from the 60 reviews, ensuring no reviewer received a pre and post knowledge brokering proposal from the same review. Results: The results showed that knowledge brokering significantly improved the scores for all six questions addressing the perceived clarity of the review proposal and confidence in meeting policy makers' needs; with average changes of 0.68 to 1.23 from pre to post across the six domains. Conclusions: This study found that knowledge brokering increased the perceived clarity of information provided in Evidence Check rapid review proposals and the confidence of reviewers that they could meet policy makers' needs. Further research is needed to identify how the knowledge brokering process achieves these improvements and to test the applicability of the findings in other rapid review programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages8
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2017


  • Commissioned rapid reviews
  • Evidence summaries
  • Knowledge brokering
  • Knowledge synthesis
  • Policy-relevant
  • Rapid reviews
  • Research utilisation
  • Review literature as topic

Cite this