• evidence-based practice;
  • knowledge transfer;
  • research dissemination;
  • research utilization;
  • cognitive process;
  • interpersonal process


Rationale: Over the past 10 years, there has been a propensity to translate research findings and evidence into clinical practice, and concepts such as knowledge transfer, research dissemination, research utilization, and evidence-based practice have been described in the nursing literature.

Aim: This manuscript shows a selective review of the definitions and utilization of these concepts and offers a perspective on their interrelationships by indicating how knowledge transfer processes are the basis of all the concepts under review.

Findings: Definitions and utilization of knowledge transfer in the literature have been influenced by educational and social perspectives and indicate two important processes that are rooted in the mechanisms of research dissemination, research utilization, and evidence-based practice. These processes refer to a cognitive and an interpersonal dimension. Knowledge transfer underlies a process involving cognitive resources as well as an interpersonal process where the knowledge is transferred between individuals or groups of individuals.

Conclusion and Implications: This manuscript can contribute to our understanding of the theoretical foundations linking these concepts and these processes by comparing and contrasting them. It also shows the value and empirical importance of the cognitive and interpersonal processes of knowledge transfer by which research findings and evidence can be successfully translated and implemented into the nursing clinical practice.