Research Papers

Translating research into commercial products: Understanding common pitfalls

Filename Bedard.pdf
Filesize 45 KB
Version 1
Date added June 6, 2010
Downloaded 1 time/fois
Category 2010 CMRSC XX Niagara
Tags Session 4A
Author/Auteur Michel Bédard, Julie Riendeau, Bruce Weaver and Michelle M. Porter


Background: There is increasing pressure for researchers to commercialize their research. This pressure emanates from a clear need to ensure new knowledge is used to better the situation of Canadians and also to exploit the commercial value of this knowledge. However, translating research into commercial applications is fraught with methodological pitfalls. Because the valid translation of new knowledge can be derailed at several steps it is imperative to ensure that the end result (the commercial product) meets expectations. We illustrate a translation and validation process using the Roadwise Review, a product developed in the United States to help older drivers self-identify potential areas of concern. A total of eight areas are assessed (leg strength and general mobility, head/neck flexibility, high contrast visual acuity, low visual acuity, visualization of missing information, visual search, useful field of view, working memory). Areas where problems are identified are flagged and brought to the attention of the older driver. We evaluated the congruence of the Roadwise Review findings with objective findings from neuro-psychological testing and on-road evaluations.
Methods: We recruited a convenience sample of 51 older drivers. All drivers completed the Roadwise Review with a Research Assistant. All participants also completed the Useful Field of View (UFOV) and the Trail Making Test (TMT) A and B. The Roadwise Review includes a computerized version of subtest two of the UFOV and of the TMT B. In addition, a sub-sample of 30 participants also completed a standardized on-road evaluation. Our analytical approach was to correlate the results of the neuro-psychological testing (UFOV and TMT) to those data generated by the Roadwise Review, and to examine the relationship between the results on the on-road evaluation (based on demerit points) to the number of problem areas identified by the Roadwise Review.
Results: The correlation between the standard TMT A and the Roadwise Review version of the TMT B was .61. The correlation between the standard TMT B and the Roadwise Review version of the TMT B was .46. The correlation between the standard UFOV subtest 2 and the Roadwise Review UFOV score .48. Among participants who completed the on-road evaluation the number of driving test demerit points ranged from 15 to 80 (mean = 48.00, SD = 20.20). The number of mild or serious problems identified by Roadwise Review (maximum is 8) ranged from 0 to 7 (mean = 2.07, SD = 1.44). The correlation between the number of demerit points and the number of problems and was .16. We examined the relationship between the five sub-scales of the on-road evaluation and the number of problems identified. This attempt to find concordance was successful for only one subscale, namely “moving in the roadway”, which had a .41 correlation with the number of problems.
Conclusions: These results indicate that findings obtained with the Roadwise Review are not indicative of actual concerns with the driving safety of older drivers. These findings are discussed within a framework delineating the importance of carefully understanding the potential pitfalls of knowledge translation into commercial products.

Michel Bédard, Julie Riendeau, Bruce Weaver and Michelle M. Porter