January 5, 2019

Plans, Guides, and Toolkits for Mobilizing Your Research

One of our previous blogs focused on the five key considerations when communicating your research, which helps to set the stage. This blog focuses on the use of different plans and toolkits to mobilize your research.   A knowledge mobilization toolkit is a collection of related information, resources, instruments, or tools (ie. surveys, guidelines, checklists) that together can guide users to develop a plan or organize efforts to follow evidence-based recommendations or meet evidence-based specific practice standards. They can come in many forms such as structured plans with detailed steps (similar to the ‘KTT Plan’ developed by Melanie Barwick at Sick Kids) or more general questions with things to consider (like the ones developed by the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health). Regardless of the toolkit, they all have some similar characteristics and considerations including who the message is for, who can help you deliver the message, why are you communicating the message, and how you will do it.   A toolkit can be particularly helpful for considering the mediums you will use to share your message. There are so many different mediums you can use – the choices can seem endless! Luckily, you’re not limited to just one. Research shows the value of using multiple mediums and platforms to reach different audiences, different learning styles, or to just expand the reach of your message. People consume information in different ways so it makes sense that more strategies can be more effective at sharing your message.   However, different mediums have different levels of reach, engagement, and impact. To help you sort through all these options, we’ve created a handy table with different mediums along the left and ‘metrics’ along the top. For example, creating a blog (like this!) has the potential to have a moderate level of impact (depending on who reads it), reciprocal sharing of information (through comments, sharing of blog, etc.) and participation from those who engage with the blog – AND it doesn’t take too much time, skill, or resources to create. This is in contrast to a training session or workshop, which would take significantly more time, skill, and resources, but also has a much bigger potential for impact and participation from those who attend.

As you can see from the table, every medium has differential potential, and there can be important trade-offs between ease of creation and potential impact! Generally, the less time intensive and more cost effective mediums have lower impact, while those that take significant effort and time can have great pay-off. This is another reason why combining mediums that can have quick outreach (like a blog or tweet!) and those that take more planning (like a lunch and learn or conference) can be beneficial for sharing your message far and wide, over time, reaching greater audience, and with meaningful impact.   Any toolkit can be useful for your purposes, and what matters most is that you understand it, can utilize it, and enjoy it! Do you have experience with any toolkits or mediums to share your research? Which ones are your favourite?


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