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Harold, G.T. (2016). “Doesn't He Speak in a Funny Language?”. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 6(1):1-6.

(2016). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 6(1):1-6

Personal View

“Doesn't He Speak in a Funny Language?”

Gordon T. Harold

The challenge of research translation serves as one of the biggest obstacles to implementing bottom line products of scientific research aimed at real world beneficiaries. In the field of family process and child/adolescent mental health research this problem is no different to other domains, and may even represent one of the least well developed knowledge transfer fields in this regard (i.e., research to practice to policy to family impacts) among professional domains that espouse to work from an “evidence-led” model.

The issue of “language” is regularly held up as a problem in communicating complex research findings in a manner that is accessible and understandable to practitioner and policy maker interests, who in turn are responsible for converting new knowledge into practice and policy guidelines of potential benefit to real world families, parents, and children. How do we remediate this problem? A first step toward this objective is to recognise that while knowledge transfer occurs at the intersection points of the research-practice-policy-family impacts continuum, the efficacy of the end point in this continuum in terms of promoting sustainable evidence-led benefits is initiated from a research starting place. Without research and/or theory testing, we cannot promote evidence-led practice. To compromise on the quality of this starting place is to compromise on the efficacy of the bottom line products that may be born of this process.

An important departure point in addressing this challenge is to recognise that research that attains acceptable standards of academic rigour is complex. The objective must be to convert this complexity to simplicity in terms of message and impacts, but the validity of any such message rests on the integrity and robustness of the original research. Specific to the area of child and adolescent mental health, what is common across research-practice-policy domains is the objective of promoting improved outcomes for those most in need or at risk, and facilitating knowledge transfer to remediate the development of risk and related outcomes. In the context of this short paper, what serves as common interest across research and practice communities is consideration of what helps children who are at risk to experience improved outcomes.


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