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See detailCompeting for space in an already crowded market: a mixed methods study of why an online community of practice (CoP) for alcohol harm reduction failed to generate interest amongst the group of public health professionals at which it was aimed
Korjonen, Maria Helena UL

in Implementation Science (2017), (12), 91

Background: Improving mechanisms for knowledge translation (KT) and connecting decision-makers to each other and the information and evidence they consider relevant to their work remains a priority for ... [more ▼]

Background: Improving mechanisms for knowledge translation (KT) and connecting decision-makers to each other and the information and evidence they consider relevant to their work remains a priority for public health. Virtual communities of practices (CoPs) potentially offer an affordable and flexible means of encouraging connection and sharing of evidence, information and learning among the public health community in ways that transgress traditional geographical, professional, institutional and time boundaries. The suitability of online CoPs in public health, however, has rarely been tested. This paper explores the reasons why particular online CoP for alcohol harm reduction hosted by the UK Health Forum failed to generate sufficient interest from the group of public health professionals at which it was aimed. Methods: The study utilises online web-metrics demonstrating a lack of online activity on the CoP. One hundred and twenty seven responses to an online questionnaire were used to explore whether the lack of activity could be explained by the target audience’s existing information and evidence practices and needs. Qualitative interviews with 10 members describe in more detail the factors that shape and inhibit use of the virtual CoP by those at which it was targeted. Results: Quantitative and qualitative data confirm that the target audience had an interest in the kind of information and evidence the CoP was set up to share and generate discussion about, but also that participants considered themselves to already have relatively good access to the information and evidence they needed to inform their work. Qualitative data revealed that the main barriers to using the CoP were a proliferation of information sources meaning that participants preferred to utilise trusted sources that were already established within their daily routines and a lack of time to engage with new online tools that required any significant commitment. [less ▲]

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