Cross-disciplinary research in cancer: an opportunity to narrow the knowledge– practice gap
Health services researchers have consistently identified a gap between what is identified as “best practice” and what actually happens in clinical care. Despite nearly two decades of a growing evidence-based practice movement, narrowing the knowledge–practice gap continues to be a slow, complex, and poorly understood process. Here, we contend that cross-disciplinary research is increasingly relevant and important to reducing that gap, particularly research that encompasses the notion of transdisciplinarity, wherein multiple academic disciplines and non-academic individuals and groups are integrated into the research process. The assimilation of diverse perspectives, research approaches, and types of knowledge is potentially effective in helping research teams tackle real-world patient care issues, create more practice-based evidence, and translate the results to clinical and community care settings. The goals of this paper are to present and discuss cross-disciplinary approaches to health research and to provide two examples of how engaging in such research may optimize the use of research in cancer care.