Background Integrated knowledge translation has risen in popularity as a solution to the underuse of research in policy and practice settings. It engages knowledge users-policymakers, practitioners, patients/ consumers or their advocates, and members of the wider public-in mutually beneficial research that can involve the joint development of research questions, data collection, analysis and dissemination of findings. Knowledge that is co-produced has a better chance of being implemented. Discussion The purpose of this paper is to update developments in the field of integrated knowledge translation through a deeper analysis of the approach in practice-oriented and policy-oriented health research. We present collaborative models that fall outside the scope of integrated knowledge translation, but then explore consensus-based approaches and networks as alternate sites of knowledge co-production. We discuss the need to advance the field through the development, or use, of data collection and interpretation tools that creatively engage knowledge users in the research process. Most importantly, conceptually relevant outcomes need to be identified, including ones that focus on team transformation through the co-production of knowledge. Conclusions We explore some of these challenges and benefits in detail to help researchers understand what integrated knowledge translation means, and whether the approach's potential added value is worth the investment of time, energy and other resources.
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