Videos as Knowledge Translation products

By Anneliese Poetz, Manager, KT Core

Videos are becoming a popular way to communicate information, especially research findings. But, not all videos can be considered “KT”. NeuroDevNet’s KT Core has produced several videos: common characteristics of that make them “KT videos” include:

  1. The researcher(s) talking about their research (findings) and intended or actual impact(s)
  2. The voices of partner(s) and/or participants and/or receptors who provide testimonials about the uptake, implementation and/or impact(s) of either i) participating in the research, or ii) new knowledge derived from the research
  3. References on-screen (where available and appropriate) of peer-reviewed publications from the research
  4. An overall narrative or ‘story’ that is knowledge-translation based, for example: explaining a technology that is under research and development (e.g. Exergame), research findings (such as gains in school performance as a result of using Caribbean Quest game), describing a process for maximizing the uptake of research into policy/practice (e.g. Jonathan Weiss’ annual stakeholder consultation events to inform his research). It is not a training video for the purpose of instructing trainees on how to conduct experiments.


Most of NeuroDevNet’s KT videos incorporate all 4 of these elements. For example, NeuroDevNet researcher Darcy Fehlings narrates the “Exergame” video alongside her co-PI Nick Graham from GRAND NCE. Darcy tells the story about the research including some early findings which are illustrated by video clips of 2 teens using the exergame technology. Both Darcy and Nick provided references to peer-reviewed publications arising from this research, which were provided on-screen. Finally, an interview with a teen who participated in the research by pilot testing the exergame bike in his home, revealed that the research had already achieved ‘impact’ by improving his mobility and therefore his quality of life.

The most recent video published by NeuroDevNet is about the Caribbean Quest game which is an intervention for children with FASD or ASD to be able to improve their attention, working memory and executive function to facilitate better performance in school. Again, it contains all 4 elements: it is narrated by Kim Kerns and Sarah Macoun (NeuroDevNet researchers), includes voices of practitioners (educational assistants) who administered the intervention as well as the children who participated in the research. There is one reference on-screen for a publication that has been submitted, and the overall narrative is about the research process, findings, and observed impact(s).

One of the challenges when creating videos that contain testimonials is asking parents and children to participate.  It can create ethical challenges, which is why we use a thorough consent form (for informed consent).  We also offer participants the opportunity to preview the draft of the video and provide any feedback prior to uploading it publicly.

What do you think makes a video KT?

Is there anything missing from the list above?

Do you think you need to have all 4 elements to make a video “KT”?

Why or why not?

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and need advice on creating a KT video, contact the KT Core.


A lot can happen in a year – report on NeuroDevNet’s KT Core

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

It’s hard to believe that on August 6, 2014 it will be one year since I started as Manager of the KT Core for NeuroDevNet. The year has flown by, and I am proud to say we have accomplished a lot in what feels like a very short time. It has truly been a team effort, both within the KT Core and with our Knowledge Translation colleagues in York’s KMb Unit.

The infographic below is a visual representation of the services we have provided to researchers, trainees and partners from August 6, 2013 – present.

Brokering: one of the most memorable relationships we brokered was between NeuroDevNet, the Maternal Infant Child and Youth Research Network (MICYRN) and the new Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) prior to submission of NeuroDevNet’s renewal application June 11, 2014. By connecting these organizations and having a conversation about possible ways to work together, several concrete activities were identified and included in the application, relating to the development of NeuroDevNet’s IMPROVE Clinical Trials Network.

Events: Tamara Bodnar and Parker Holman are NeuroDevNet trainees who came up with an innovative curriculum for science teachers so kids can do an experiment and see with their own eyes what the effect of alcohol is on a developing organism. The KT Core helped by providing feedback on their event flyer and the event’s evaluation questions, faxing the event flyer to the list of schools provided by Tammy and Parker, and producing a video about the day.

Products: New things since last year are the production of almost 40 ResearchSnapshots which are clear language summaries of NeuroDevNet-supported scientific research, review and vetting of the most current social media guides based on usefulness to researchers/trainees, our youtube channel where you can find KT videos about NeuroDevNet research, and the KT blog you are reading right now! We only have 6 videos posted on our youtube channel, but we reported 11 because we helped advise on the 5 videos created for the Neuroethics Core’s CENDS video series.

Evaluation: When I started, we had David Phipps’ (Executive Director of Research & Innovation at York University, and NeuroDevNet KT Core Lead) Co-Produced Pathway to Impact Framework and an idea of what services we’d offer,

but since then we have worked together to map the services onto the framework. We have subsequently developed indicators

that will help us evaluate our services so we can make decisions about where it is best to allocate our resources to be the most useful. If our quantitative and qualitative indicators are adopted and/or adapted by other NCEs it could also be possible in the future to compare KT Services across NCEs. Interviews are ongoing, and give us qualitative information about KT successes in the Network about the needs of researchers and trainees that we can use to improve our services.  We are learning about KT successes such as Angelina Paolozza’s presentation to Adopt Ontario. After explaining her eye-tracking research and helping prospective parents understand more about kids with FASD, all of the parents told Angelina they had changed their minds and would now consider adopting a child with FASD. We will be writing and posting some of these “KT Success stories” online.

Planning: The KT Core reviewed 15 grant applications and provided written feedback on the researcher’s KT Planning strategy for their research, which was often followed by a telephone conversation. We were pleased that most of these applications were successful.

Stakeholder engagement: KT depends on relationships. Period. That’s why the KT Core is growing its networks of stakeholders online (see social media on infographic above), and is gearing up for an in-person stakeholder consultation with diverse stakeholders so we can make sure the work we are doing addresses their information needs (thereby increasing the likelihood it will be useful).   We are engaging in conversations using facebook, twitter and LinkedIn and learning a lot about our stakeholders and their information needs. Recently, we distributed the recruitment poster for the FASD Discovery Project’s “Strongest Families” study as well as a resource package for families that don’t qualify to participate. Members of NeuroDevNet can contact the KT Core to ask us to put forth questions to members of our online networks to inform their research, or to disseminate information.

Finally, we’ve refreshed the KT tools section of NeuroDevNet’s website – only the most useful tools and guides for doing KT are there, and are sub-divided into each of the services we provide.   We also provide capacity building/training by request as needed. Now that you have seen examples what we have done, contact the KT Core if you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and ask how we can help maximize the impact of your research.

What makes a good Knowledge Translation video?

Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

Videos are becoming an important tool for of Knowledge Translation.  But what makes a video a good KT tool?  Here are the top 5 things that make a good KT video:

1)  The video links to the research.  Whether it is references to research papers presented on-screen, the researcher talking about what they did and what they learned from their research in plain language, these are important linkages that must be made in order to consider a video a KT tool.  Ideally, relevant references to the original research paper(s) will appear on-screen while the researcher is talking so the audience can look up these papers if they want more detailed information.  Here is an example:

2)  The video is not a training/demonstration video.  Videos that are created for the purpose of training individuals on how to perform certain tasks as part of the methodology of the research study are not KT.  In contrast, videos that are about explaining how the research was conducted (after the fact), the research findings, and how these findings might be useful for changing behaviours, policy, and/or practice can be considered end-of-grant KT.

3)  The video is between 1-2.5 minutes in length.  I have seen (and produced) videos that are longer than this, but I usually aim to make videos that are no longer than 2 or 2.5 minutes in length.  If you make a longer video, you should have your peers view it and provide feedback – watch to see if they get bored before the end of the video.  If they are captivated throughout, the length is ok.  Otherwise, you should think about shortening it.  For some researchers, I have recommended creating a short 2.5 minute video and post the full length 7-8 minute recording as a podcast – with the link to the podcast on-screen in the video.  Here is an example: 

4)  The video has good audio. Good audio is actually more important than video – viewers are more likely to continue watching a video that has substandard video than one with poor audio quality and/or levels.  It is worth it to rent good quality microphones if you don’t own any, and test them beforehand to make sure they work as you expect.  If you don’t know what to get, go to a place that rents cameras and microphones and tell them what you are going to record and they should be able to point you in the right direction.  I tested my camera-mounted Sennheiser mic before doing interviews in order to get a sense for how far away my interviewee could be before the quality began to fade.  The result was great quality audio.  If you use music to accompany voiceover in your videos, make sure the levels are just right – not too high that it is drowning out the speaker, not too low that you can hardly hear it.  This comes with practice.

5)  The video has good lighting.  The light should not be so ‘hot’ that you can’t see detail in your subject, but it shouldn’t be too dark either.  This also comes with practice, and requires some good lighting equipment.  This can also be rented and the rental place can point you to the right equipment and give you some pointers on how to set it up.  If you get back to your computer and realize after the fact that your lighting was a bit ‘off’, you can still fix it if you have the right computer software.  I use Adobe Premiere Pro, and there are several video effects that you can use to lighten/darken brightness/contrast, as well as adjust colouration.  There are some really good videos on youtube that can teach you how to set up lighting for videos, and how to make adjustments using different software packages.

Of course, there are more considerations for creating videos that people will want to watch and share (to maximize dissemination of your research findings).  These include: framing of the subject during video recording, good editing technique, and use of appropriate related footage to ‘cut in’ while the researcher is talking about their findings.  These and other pointers will be included in the guide for KT videos which is one of the tools to be produced by NeuroDevNet’s KT Core as a tool for NeuroDevNet researchers.

If you are a NeuroDevNet member and wish to receive support for creating videos for KT, contact Anneliese Poetz, KT Core Manager.