We suggest that the results of individual studies need to be interpreted within the context of global evidence before deciding whether it is ready for knowledge translation.

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Interest in knowledge translation has increased dramatically in recent years due to recognition that traditional approaches to moving research into practice, which were predominantly based on education ( The increased focus on knowledge translation has frequently emphasised individual studies as the unit for knowledge translation.

While this may be appropriate when the targets for knowledge translation are other researchers or research funders (who need to be aware of primary research results), we argue that this is inappropriate when the targets for knowledge translation are consumers, healthcare professionals, and/or policy makers.

We suggest that the basic unit of knowledge translation should usually be up-to-date systematic reviews or other syntheses of research findings.

Knowledge translators need to identify the key messages for different target audiences and to fashion these in language and knowledge translation products that are easily assimilated by different audiences.

There are two main types of translational research.

T1 research refers to the translation of basic biomedical research into clinical science and knowledge, while T2 research refers to the translation of this new clinical science and knowledge into improved health []. We define knowledge translation as ‘ensuring that stakeholders are aware of and use research evidence to inform their health and healthcare decision-making.’ This definition recognizes that there are a wide range of stakeholders or target audiences for knowledge translation, including policy makers, professionals (practitioners), consumers (While knowledge translation is a relatively new term, the notion of moving research findings into practice is not new.

Across different healthcare systems, different terms describe these efforts including quality assurance, quality improvement, knowledge translation, knowledge utilisation, knowledge transfer and exchange, innovation diffusion, implementation research, research utilisation, evidence-informed policy, and evidence-informed health systems [].

These different terms often cover related and overlapping constructs.

The relative importance of knowledge translation to different target audiences will vary by the type of research and appropriate endpoints of knowledge translation may vary across different stakeholder groups.