Developing your communication strategy

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Contents

Getting started

Main components

  1. The 'What': What do you intend to accomplish with your communication activities? Identify your communication goals, based on the potential benefits and impacts you envision your research can produce. These goals should be positive in nature, and pertain to measurable impacts.
  2. The 'Who': Identify your target groups, and outline why your research addresses the concerns and problems facing them.
  3. The 'What': Based on what you have already identified, develop your key communication messages - eg, the message to your target group that will lead to your communication goals being met.
    1. If you have identified several target groups, determine whether your message is appropriate for them all. If not, identify tailored messages for each of these in a message matrix.
  4. The 'Why': Articulate your vision of the future, in terms of the successful implementation of your communication activities. What will be the impact of your communication goals being met? How will this improve things for your target groups?

Guiding principles

Reviewing your strategy

References

Apre. Report on strategies for communication of scientific results in the food sector. Rep. AgriFoodResults, 2010.

Carrada, G. 2006. Communicating science. A scientist's survival kit. European Commission, Directorate-General for Research.

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Impact Assessment of Policy-Oriented Research in the CGIAR: Evidence and Insights from Case Studies. Rep. Science Council, 2008.

Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Strategies for Disseminating Research Findings. Rep. Community Research Core, 2009.

Dearing J. Evolution of Diffusion and Dissemination Theory. Journal of Public Health Management Practice 2008; 12(2):99-108.

Dobbins et al. A Framework for the Dissemination and Utilization of Research for Health-Care Policy and Practice. The Online Journal of Knowledge Synthesis for Nursing 2002; 9: Doc. #7.

European Commission, DG Research. The future of European Union research policy, Accessible at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/index_en.cfm

Harmsworth S, Turpin S. Creating an Effective Dissemination Strategy: An Expanded Interactive Workbook for Educational Development Projects. TQEF National Co-ordination Team, 2000.

Hovland, I. 2005. Successful Communication. A Toolkit for Researchers and Civil Society Organisations. Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

International Development Research Centre. 2011. Developing a Communications Strategy. IDRC.

Keen S, Todres L. Strategies for Disseminating Qualitative Research Findings: Three Exemplars. Forum: Qualitative Social Research 2007, 8(3): Art. 17.

Research Matters.The RM Knowledge Translation Toolkit: A Resource for Researchers. Chapter 6: Designing a Communications Strategy.  

Walter et al. Research Impact: A Cross Sector Review. University of St. Andrews: St. Andrews, Scotland: 2003.

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