The “Guide of Guides” Series for Knowledge Translation

This blog post was written by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager for KBHN. It was originally published as a guest post on the ResearchImpact blog (Source: The “Guide of Guides” Series for Knowledge Translation) it is reposted here with permission.

Kids Brain Health Network (formerly NeuroDevNet) is a Network of Centres of Excellence funded by the Federal government of Canada. There are three discovery programs focused on the early diagnosis and treatment of: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Cerebral Palsy. Three Cores serve the researchers and trainees within the Network as well as the other Cores: Neuroethics, Neuroinformatics, and Knowledge Translation (KT). The KT Core is hosted by York University’s award winning Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit and provides 7 services within the Network:

1- Knowledge Brokering
2- Support for KT Events
3- Support for KT Products
4- KT Capacity Building
5- Evaluating KT
6- Support KT Planning
7- Stakeholder Engagement

A couple of years ago, one of our researchers asked us for guidance for using social media for KT. We realized while searching for what was ‘already out there’ that there are a lot of guides for social media, but not all of them are targeted towards use by researchers. In collaboration with York University’s KMb Unit, we produced our first “Guide of Guides” that is a compilation of carefully selected and vetted guides for social media that are relevant. The “Guide of Guides” format resembles an annotated bibliography, where the reference information is provided for each guide along with a summary paragraph about the tool, how it can be used and why you may wish to use it. The “Social Media Guide of Guides” became the start of a series. This post serves as a “guide” to the “Guide of Guides” series.


Soon after, we produced the “KT Planning Guide of Guides”.

We were doing a search for existing KT planning guides because another project we were working on was to provide KT planning support for 4 key projects within the Network and we wanted to see if there was a tool out there that we could use. What we ended up doing was creating our own, that was specific to our own needs (the Hybrid KT Planning and Project Management tool). However, we had conducted an exhaustive search of existing KT Planning tools so we reviewed and vetted them for quality and relevance, and created a similar “Guide of Guides” for KT Planning.

We received several requests from researchers for support and resources for creating infographics. After searching for existing guides, we realized that surprisingly there weren’t any guides for researchers about infographics, only blog posts. So, we vetted the blog posts, searched the literature and wrote a comprehensive evidence-based guide, followed by an annotated list of what we deemed were the best blog posts on infographics. Some blog posts pointed to examples of infographics, while others explained step by step how to create an infographic and what tools were available (usually free, online) for creating your own. While the content wasn’t really a “Guide of Guides” per se, we titled this product the “Infographic Guide of Guides”. We were fortunate to have one project team pilot test a draft of this guide and provide feedback before it was finalized and posted. This is the first guide that included an appendix with form-fillable fields to help research teams work through the process of creating an infographic.

Finally, we produced a “Stakeholder Engagement Guide of Guides”. There are many guides for doing stakeholder engagement, and it is becoming more important for KBHN to do stakeholder engagement in a more formalized way. After searching, reviewing, and vetting guides available online, we created a similarly formatted “Guide of Guides” for stakeholder engagement that also included a form-fillable appendix to help facilitate planning. Since there are many different reasons (goals/objectives) for engaging with stakeholders and many different formats for doing so, we created a summary table at the beginning of the guide that separates the types of engagement into three tables: mostly sharing information with stakeholders, sharing and listening, and mostly listening. The list of specific formats within each category was visually coded so that the user can easily find the corresponding guide for detailed information.

The KT Core may produce one more “Guide of Guides” on evaluation methods for KT.

Seeing the diamond in the rough: “Boaty McBoatface” a KT gem?

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

Boaty McBoatfaceThis week, a new $400 million research vessel made national headlines after asking for public input to name it.  The runaway #1 name was “Boaty McBoatface” and was far from the more serious meaningful suggestions the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) had hoped for.  The news reported that the NERC still has the right to decide what to name it – as a KT professional, I am hoping they keep Boaty McBoatface if not for any other reason but to maximize the potential for their KT. [update: as of April 18, 2016 the science minister, Jo Johnson reports te government wants a name that ‘fits the mission’]

I understand the argument not to keep the name: researchers are concerned that their rigorous and important work may not be viewed as credible if the vessel it is carried out with is donned with a name that started out as a joke.  I believe this is a valid concern, however, I would like to offer a different perspective.  As a KT professional, I am aware that KT-conscious researchers, as individuals and, as part of research networks and organizations, are constantly seeking for a way to raise awareness about their work, to create “sticky messages” that audiences will remember.  Indeed, the effectiveness of any KT strategy begins with the ability to raise awareness about the project, the findings, the usefulness and potential application of the work.  While awareness does not guarantee uptake and implementation, if people don’t know about the research, they can’t even consider using it.

Awareness-raising for research projects typically aims to direct attention toward the evidence through dissemination activities such as: conferences, websites, social media.  An integrated knowledge translation approach is based on relationship-building to both inform the research in progress as well as act as a spokesperson to spread the research findings (and hopefully facilitate their uptake and implementation of evidence-informed recommendations into practice and policy).  Researchers, research networks, and organizations promoting evidence-informed decision-making sometimes seek spokespersons who are more broadly recognizable, to be ‘champions’ such as well-known celebrities or athletes.  The reality is, it is very difficult to achieve the desired level of awareness or ‘reach’ of research findings that could maximize uptake and implementation. Capitalizing on the popularity of “Boaty McBoatface” can be an effective means to direct attention to the researchers’ social media channels, websites, for achieving broader awareness of the research evidence.

ECDC antibiotic awareness hedgehogOrganizations have recognized the power of social media and try to create content that will be shared, and go ‘viral’, with the end result being uptake and implementation of their messages.  There is a fine line between ‘gimmicky-ness’ that could reduce credibility and cause people to ignore CDC Zombie Apocalypseit, and something that can go viral while causing effective uptake of evidence-based messages. The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) created a hedgehog mascot to help convey messages about public health.  The United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) launched a “Zombie Apocalypse” twitter campaign that ended up being so successful it crashed their website from visitors who wanted the information on emergency preparedness.

The NERC’s “name our ship” website crashed this past weekend due to the amount of traffic.  I can only think of this kind of public attention as something positive (for their KT), in fact, it is a rare and unexpected gift to the ocean researchers at its helm.

 

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.

Film

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.

 

LinkedIn for knowledge translation: using groups for networking

By: Isaac Coplan (KT Coordinator)In-2C-121px-R

Networking is important to knowledge translation (KT), as relationships are a key part of KT processes. This is where social media can be useful in KT. Websites like LinkedIn provide a platform in which to expand your network and meaningfully engage with stakeholders. If used properly, social media can be incorporated into Integrated KT strategies as well as end-of-grant research dissemination.

What is LinkedIn?

In the Social Media for KT resource (What is social media & where to start) I wrote about LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is known to cater to professional audiences. They are also well designed so that search engines (such as Google and Bing) privilege information on their pages. This means that they will frequently be higher up when someone runs a web-search on your name (this process is also called search engine optimization).

LinkedIn was designed with the idea of allowing a place for professionals to connect online. It works as a sort of online resume or CV and online presence that can be populated with links, articles and posts. LinkedIn is not just about seeking employment, it can be an important tool to connect with a wide range of stakeholders. In April 2014, LinkedIn announced that it reached 300 million registered users, up from 200 million in 2013.

LinkedIn Groups

noun_15878_ccOne thing that I should also mention is the power of LinkedIn groups to expand your professional network. In LinkedIn groups, people frequently post questions or scenarios to their group, this allows for a conversation to occur naturally.Research Impact used their LinkedIn group to pose questions to KT practitioners in order to differentiate between knowledge translation and communications.  Analysis from the responses to this question on LinkedIn led to a research paper.

Groups can easily be searched (this Boolean search Tip sheet from LinkedIn is helpful). This provides you with access to over 1.5 Million groups. The search feature easily shows you if any of your existing connections are in groups and the relative popularity. This can allow you to quickly determine the groups that are already relevant to your networks.

How can expanding your LinkedIn network help you with your KT?
There are several benefits of networking that include:

  • Gaining greater visibility in professional circles
  • Being able to contribute to online conversations in your field
  • Providing another place for audiences to discover and contact you

In addition, expanding your research teams’ networks can become a rich source for getting feedback on your work. Two ways that this can be achieved are through:

  1. Gathering feedback from stakeholders to inform your research questions and approach
  2. Evaluating the work you have already completed.

Instead of creating a LinkedIn group that we would have to recruit members for, the KT Core expands our networks (connections to our profile page) by targeting policymakers, practitioners and other researchers that may find NeuroDevNet’s research useful in their work and sending them an invitation to connect.

LinkedIn can also be a part of a strategy to evaluate KT Products. For the evaluation of ResearchSnapshots, the KT Core sent personal messages to selected members of our LinkedIn network.  We asked the same questions of stakeholders in: Cerebral Palsy, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and Autism Spectrum disorder and included a link to the ResearchSnapshots on our website for each of these major projects.  We wanted to answer questions like:

  • Do you find the snapshot a) interesting, b) useful, c) both useful and interesting? D) Neither useful nor interesting?
  • How have/would you use these ResearchSnapshot(s)?
  • If you would not use these ResearchSnapshot(s), why?

This provided the KT Core with valuable insight into the ways that different products are used, or could be used by different knowledge users.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee we can help you learn how to use LinkedIn for KT, or help you advance your existing social media strategy, contact the KT Core!

What is a Twitter chat? How can I facilitate one?

by Isaac Coplan (KT Coordinator)

Twitter_logo_blue

A Twitter chat is a live chat event on twitter. It is organized using a unique hashtag that can then be tracked to understand the level of participation. A facilitator asks a series of questions (usually 6) during a pre-scheduled time period (usually lasting an hour). This allows participants to either follow along, or read a transcript at a later date.

“Imagine a business networking event—but without a dress code and with a keyboard instead of a bar. The same social customs apply—courtesy and respect—and it’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests. There are Twitter chats in almost every industry imaginable.” –Nicole Miller of BufferApp (Twitter Chat 101).

Benefits of using a Twitter chat:

  • Introduces real time interaction between stakeholders and researchers, service providers and/or policy makers
  • Connects people with similar interests online, growing your social network
  • Provides a platform for communication that can be saved, measured, and referred to in the future
  •  Allows people to participate from across the country
  • Can work well as one part of an integrated KT strategy by focusing on engagement, feedback and dissemination to a wide audience at a relatively low cost

On November 18, 2014, we worked with CanChild to host a Twitter chat leading up to their family engagement day. Here is the process that we used, organized by approximate time periods.

A successful Twitter chat can be organized over a few weeks.

Three weeks before:

  • Choose an original Hashtag: This can be done by searching on Twitter. Try and keep the hashtag as short as possible, without using one that is already in use. Try searching the hashtag on Google first, to make sure that there aren’t any other connotations to the abbreviation.
  • Determine a way to collect metrics: Symplur.com allows for a free service that can provide detailed metrics for Twitter chat related to health. However, registration can take a number of weeks; register at least 2-3 weeks in advance.

Two Weeks Before:

  • Write questions: Typically Twitter chats last for approximately One hour with a question every 10 minutes. Key participants can be provided with the questions in advance, however typically they are not made public until the event.
  • Select Facilitator: The role of the facilitator is to keep the chat moving, and to make sure that questions are being answered in the correct format (this makes it easier for people who want to follow along on the transcript afterwards).
  • Choose platform for Twitter chat: tchat.io is one that the KT Core have used in the past. Platforms automatically type in the designated hashtag, and focus only on content related to the chat. There are several other examples – and participants may opt to follow along on Twitter.
  • Begin publicizing the Twitter chat through social networks. This should include a brief description of the topic, the hashtag, the time and date.

At the event:

  • The Facilitator welcomes participants, and asks them to introduce themselves. This allows others to have a good understanding of who’s involved in the event. The facilitator keeps the conversation on track by asking questions in a timely manner.
  • Questions should be asked using the following format:

NDN KT

  • While Answers are formatted in the following way:

NDN KT2

Facilitators can remind, or inform, participants of the format. This makes it easier for people to follow along by reading the transcript in the future.

After the Event:

The facilitator can create a transcript using Symplur or another platform. In addition, it is also possible to gather metrics that include impressions, participant and reach. You can easily see how many people participated and how many people viewed tweets related to the Twitter chat.

What did the metrics tell us?

In the CanChild Twitter chat there were 41 Participants from across Canada. The posts were viewed 109,351 times (Impressions). Throughout the day of the chat, 344 Tweets Sent. – 268 of those sent during the 1 hour chat.

Twitter chats have the opportunity to quickly engage a large number of people on a specific content matter, and can increase engagement with individuals, organizations or researchers who may otherwise not be able to attend.

Follow NeuroDevNet’s  KT Core on Twitter: @NeuroDevNetKT

Follow NeuroDevNet on Twitter: @NeuroDevNet

See a transcript of the Twitter chat Hosted by NeuroDevNetKT and CanChild #CanChildKT

For more information on how to hose a Twitter chat see:

Steve Cooper’s (Forbes) Ultimate Guide to hosting a Tweet chat

Nicole Miller’s (BufferApp) Twitter Chats 101

For more understanding of how this fits in with a family engagement strategy see “What are some of the ways Neurodevnet is supporting family engagement.”
If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee, or if you represent one of Canada’s NCEs and would like to know more about NeuroDevNet’s KT Core services please visit our website and/or contact the KT Core.

What is Social Media & Where to Start?

KTsocialmediaguidepdf

Blog post by:  Isaac Coplan, @neurodevnetkt

The KT Core has produced a new resource for NeuroDevNet researchers and trainees, referred to as the social media “guide of guides”. It is the newest addition to our collection of KT Tools that we feature on the NeuroDevNet Website. It is an annotated bibliography of the best and most applicable published guides for researchers to “do KT” for their research.

Starting to use social media for Knowledge Translation can be overwhelming, especially for busy researchers who are not familiar with social media and who might not see the value of it for dissemination and stakeholder engagement. Indeed, a simple Google search will result in a large number of articles, blogs and websites that promise to direct you on how to start. Many of them charge money for unnecessary programs or services related to social media– and few are directly related to KT. Before I began my position as KT Coordinator with NeuroDevNet, Krista Jensen (of the York University Knowledge Mobilization Unit) and Elle Seymour (former KT Coordinator, NeuroDevNet) had conducted a search and narrowed them down to the top guides. I was happy to help finalize the guide and organized them from guides targeted at the beginner level to more advanced levels.

Our “guide of guides” begins with a section that explains the value of social media for researchers, for KT purposes and organizes the guides reviewed into several other sections:

Why use social media?

Planning & Strategic Social Media Guides

Advanced resources, metrics and tools for measuring social media reach           

While social media is certainly transforming the way that information is viewed, communicated and shared it isn’t necessarily making these processes simple. Social media requires planning – and for more complex strategies, can require designated staff. If you are beginning to use social media – you may be curious about how it has helped researchers with KT. The first section “Why use social media?” provides links and useful annotations to a variety of resources. This can provide you with initial push to start thinking about social media and answer some of your questions about why researchers use different platforms. Another example of how this guide may be used, is if there is a researcher who connects with people online, but hasn’t started thinking about social media strategically. The “Planning & Strategic Social Media Guides” section has resources that will help you move from a casual social media user – to a more strategic user. The final section “Advanced resources, metrics and tools for measuring social media reach” looks at tools that can provide you with more advanced thinking on social media. The guides in this section cover topics such as tracking research, reach of your social media channels and  data visualization.

Overall- there are many advantages to social media use by researchers – one of the overarching benefits is the number of people that are now using social media regularly, which means the number of stakeholders that can be reached in this way by researchers is also greater. These stakeholders include: researchers from institutions around the world, mainstream media, research networks, non-profit organizations, community organizations, health care institutions, government offices and education institutions from most of the world to name a few.

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This guide is a good reference for researchers and trainees who want to start using social media for KT. If you are a researcher/trainee and already using social media, you can use the more advanced guides referenced in this “guide of guides” in order to approach social media more strategically. Social media doesn’t have to be mystical – these guides can help you.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee we can help you learn how to use social media for KT, or help you advance your existing strategy, contact the KT Core!

Critical Considerations for doing Stakeholder Engagement for Research

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

When I began my PhD studies in 2003 it was before terms like “Integrated Knowledge Translation” (IKT) and “Co-Produced Research” were common. In my graduate program people would joke about how their predecessors had placed a $10 bill in their dissertations only to return to the library years later to discover it was still there – nobody had read it. Wow, all that time, money and effort wasted on something that would never be used – I didn’t find it funny at all. I really wanted my research to be used, so after I crafted my research questions I went and talked to the people who I imagined would use my research: CEOs, government regulatory agencies, industry. I also attended their conferences and listened for what were the issues that were important to them. As a result of this new understanding about my end-user’s needs, I changed 80% of my research questions because I realized I was asking the wrong ones. The result was my research was found interesting and useful by those end-users that I had consulted. I completed my research in 2010, and emailed the first of 3 papers I published to the President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Dr. Michael Binder). I received this email response on January 22, 2011 “Very interesting study. I have the taken the liberty of circulating to staff at CNSC. Thanks for sharing”. The results of my research which recommended ongoing stakeholder engagement, resulted in Bruce Power’s creation of several social media channels such as twitter and a community blog in 2011, and a facebook page in 2014 (I checked with an employee at Bruce Power who confirmed that these avenues for stakeholder engagement represented uptake of my research results).

It is important to involve a diverse range of stakeholders in any consultation or stakeholder engagement activity

It is important to involve a diverse range of stakeholders in any consultation or stakeholder engagement activity

Now, over a decade later, this kind of involvement of end-users including policy- and decision-makers has become a requirement of funding agencies such as CIHR. This is an important overall paradigm shift: from research that is done in isolation with no consultation or thought about who will actually use the research and whether what you are doing will be relevant to them, to a more responsive approach that is intended to meet the needs of decision-makers including practitioners. In the field of Knowledge Translation we call this “stakeholder engagement” (a stakeholder is anyone who will be directly or indirectly affected by decisions made based on your research findings).

There are several researchers who are doing stakeholder engagement. For the past several years NeuroDevNet’s Neuroethics Core has been conducting workshops and other in-person events to engage their diverse stakeholders (such as health care providers, researchers, patient advocacy groups) in their research, so that they can be responsive to their needs.  NeuroDevNet’s FASD project has engaged stakeholders in the development of their “Strongest Families” research project. Customization of the course material was achieved through phone interviews with clinicians (specializing in FASD) and families and the program is based on the needs they articulated.
And that is the key to stakeholder engagement – being responsive to the needs of your stakeholders including end-users. Stakeholder engagement can include regular in-person meetings, dialogue through social media, or other forms of communication such as teleconferences or online meetings.

If you are not prepared to be responsive to stakeholder input, then don’t engage your stakeholders. Be honest with yourself – are you prepared to change your research questions, methodological

If you don't plan to listen and respond (by adapting your research questions and/or methodology) according to what your stakeholders are telling you, don't ask for their input

If you don’t plan to listen and respond (by adapting your research questions and/or methodology) according to what your stakeholders are telling you, don’t ask for their input

approach, etc. based on input from your stakeholders? If you are not prepared to be flexible and responsive throughout the research process, then don’t ask for input. You will do more harm than good – it will cause irreparable damage to the relationship. People will feel used, and it will create distrust, conflict (which includes avoidance and refusal to use your research in decision-making), and ultimately the usefulness of your research findings will not be maximized.

Be responsive to the system in which your research occurs
The field of KT is now recognizing the importance of the entire system. If stakeholder engagement is considered “Integrated Knowledge Translation”, and IKT occurs within a system, then you as a researcher also need to be responsive to changes to the various levels of the ‘system’ in which you are doing your research. Changes to the system include: new research discoveries, new diseases, new technologies, news in another part of the world, new legislation and regulations…you get the idea.

Keys to effective stakeholder engagement summarized:
1) Make people feel valued by sincerely listening to their input, keeping them informed about the progress of the research, and closing the loop at the end of the project.

2) Use different forms of stakeholder engagement – in-person meetings are best but you can use social media to expand your networks beyond what is possible in-person, as well as to keep in touch with people in between meetings.

3) Involve diverse stakeholders especially end-users in your research design, and be prepared to be responsive to their input even if the research is already in-progress.

The main message is: successful knowledge translation occurs as a result of trust (in the source of the information being used to base policy and practice decisions on) which is a result of good relationships and ongoing relationship building. This requires several levels of flexibility and openness as a researcher. If you sincerely want your research to be useful, good stakeholder engagement is the way.

The KT Core is building networks via social media (LinkedIn, facebook, twitter) and will be leading a cross-jurisdictional cross-Network in-person stakeholder consultation in year 6. If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher, trainee or partner and need help with in-person or online stakeholder engagement for your individual project(s), contact the KT Core for tools and advice.