Transformative research as knowledge mobilization: transmedia, bridges and layers

Colin Ray Anderson, Stéphane M. McLachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)
179 Downloads (Pure)


Mainstream knowledge production and communication in the academy generally reflect the tenets of positivist research and predominantly embody hierarchical processes of knowledge transfer. In contrast, a transformative research paradigm is rooted in knowledge mobilization processes involving close collaboration between researchers and community actors as co-enquirers as a part of a broader agenda for progressive social change. They also involve strategic communication strategies that mobilize knowledge beyond those directly involved in the research process. We illustrate the cyclical pattern and transgressive potential of knowledge mobilization processes through a reflective case study of a participatory action research program in the Canadian Prairies. Based on this work, we present three key knowledge mobilization strategies. These include: using transmedia to exchange knowledge across a range of communication media; building bridges to invite communication amongst diverse knowledge communities; and layering to communicate knowledge at varying levels of detail. We critically examine our own practice as a contested and partial process in tension with the institutional and cultural durability of the more linear knowledge transfer paradigm. Knowledge mobilization strategies provide a framework to implement research methods, communication processes, and outcomes that are high in impact and relevant in struggles for a more just and resilient society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-317
Number of pages23
JournalAction Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2015


  • participatory action research
  • knowledge mobilization
  • transformative research
  • alternative food networks
  • epistemic justice
  • local food

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