Using Social Network Analysis to Understand Knowledge Translation in Child Development and Rehabilitation

A research team at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba is conducting a national social network analysis survey to understand how groups of people involved in child development and rehabilitation connect with others to share and use knowledge.

The overall goal of this work is to improve families’ access to safe, effective health care.

The findings can be used to create strategies and to support connections that help move knowledge into action. This project is led by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, the University of Manitoba and Sunny Hill Health Centre at BC Children’s Hospital, and also includes parent and family partners, Indigenous representatives, health care providers, knowledge translation support people, and researchers from across Canada.

Bear and Cub
Gratitude to Morningstar Designs for permission to use this image.

This study is not affiliated with any provincial or federal government Ministries and are conducting this research independently. We would like to ensure that Indigenous peoples are represented in this work. We have Indigenous members on our team and are committed to cultural safety and doing no harm. We are receiving guidance from Knowledge Keepers to help leave everyone in a good way.

This work relates to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action #19 and #20. We engage in ongoing learning about cultural safety and trauma and are striving to use the utmost care to ensure that anyone choosing to take part in the survey has a safe, confidential space to share their perspectives.

Primary Investigators

Dr. Kristy Wittmeier, PT, PhD – Co-Lead

Kristy is a physiotherapist and a researcher, who lives and works on Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg Manitoba). She has 15+ years experience supporting research and evidence use among physiotherapists. Kristy is affiliated with the University of Manitoba, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, and Rehabilitation Centre for Children. She is co-lead of the ENRRICH (Excellence in Neurodevelopment and Rehabilitation Research in Child Health) Research Theme at CHRIM.

Dr. Stephanie Glegg, OT, PhD – Co-Lead

Stephanie is a paediatric occupational therapist and an implementation scientist. Her research examines how to move knowledge into action to improve health care. In her role as knowledge broker with the Child Development & Rehabilitation Evidence Centre at Sunny Hill Health Centre (Vancouver), she has supported the use of evidence to inform decision-making by health care providers, leaders, students and families. She also brings perspective to her research and practice as the caregiver of a neurodiverse child.

About the Study

This survey is Phase 1 of the project.

Phase 2 involves interviews with a small group of people who answered this survey. Phase 3 involves a group consensus process with a smaller group. If you take part in Phase 1, you may also be invited to take part in Phase 2 and 3.

The survey has 2 aims:

1. To learn about the connections and gaps between people involved in knowledge translation in Canada, we will ask you to name up to 5 people (including researchers, health care providers, families, and knowledge translation support people) with whom you connect for knowledge translation. This will allow us to make a map that shows where strong connections and gaps in connections exist across Canada. Note: No names will be used in any reports of the findings. Names are needed to create the map of the connections between people who complete this survey, and then names will be deleted from the data set.

2. To help us understand who took part in this survey from across Canada, we will ask you questions about you and your background.

The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. You can save your answers and come back to finish the form later. Answers will be stored in a secure database called REDCap, hosted by the University of Manitoba.


This survey is for 4 groups of people involved in caregiving and/or work with children with exceptionalities or support needs for development:

  1. Families/caregivers
  2. Health care providers
  3. Researchers, and
  4. People who support knowledge translation

In addition, eligible participants will:

  • be ≥18 years of age
  • live/work in Canada
  • be able to complete a survey in French or English language

How to Participate:

Please contact our study site coordinator directly to learn how you can get involved. 

Email: or phone: 204-789-3372


Knowledge translation is the process of moving evidence into action. The evidence being moved into action can be research, health care provider expertise, families’ experience, and other ways of knowing. The knowledge translation process includes identifying the problem/issue, summarizing, sharing, and using knowledge to improve health, health care, and the health care system, and evaluating the impact of knowledge translation. This process can involve interactions between researchers, health care providers, families, and knowledge translation support people. You can read the definition of knowledge translation from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) here.

Child development and rehabilitation is the health field that focuses on children (0-18 years) with exceptionalities, or support needs related to their development or to their recovery from an injury that affects how they develop.

Health care providers may call these exceptionalities, developmental, behavioural or brain-based (i.e., neuromotor/neurological) conditions, disabilities, muscle/bone and/or sensory impairments, or other terms. Examples of conditions include (but are not limited to): attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, muscular dystrophy. Note: A child does not need a specific diagnosis to have an exceptionality or support needs

Family members in this study means adult family members (including parents, grandparents, siblings), caregivers (including kinship care, foster care) of a child (any age; the child can now be an adult) who has accessed or tried to access child development and/or rehabilitation services in the healthcare system.

Health care providers are members of the health care team that provide assessment, consultation, or treatment for children with development or rehabilitation needs. Some examples of health care providers are doctors, nurses, psychologists, therapists (e.g., physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreation therapists, speech language pathologists), dieticians, social workers, traditional healers, and Medicine People.

Researchers are people who design and conduct research as part of their formal role. Researchers can work within universities, research institutes, health organizations, government, or community organizations.

Knowledge translation support people are people like knowledge brokers, knowledge keepers, Elders, librarians, nurse educators, research coordinators, parent advisors, and others whose formal role includes helping move health-related evidence into action. They may work or volunteer in health care, research, or community organizations.