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!

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

by Isaac Coplan (KT Coordinator)

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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.

Reflections on my time as NeuroDevNet’s KT Coordinator

IMG_4781by Elle Seymour, KT Coordinator, NeuroDevNet

I will always think back on my time with NeuroDevNet with fondness and a great amount of respect for the people I have worked with and the things I have learned. When the KT Core moved to York, I was fortunate enough to become their new Coordinator. When I started this job I knew there would be a steep learning curve as I had never practiced KT before. This was made much easier by my manager, Anneliese Poetz, who also became a great mentor to me. Anneliese is extremely knowledgeable about KT and when you combine Anneliese and David (Phipps) you certainly have a tour de force on your hands. I worked closely with both Anneliese and David and cannot overstate how much I have learned from them. Apart from KT knowledge, Anneliese is a skilled videographer and has a knack for the visual arts and a love of puns. David’s passion for KT comes across whenever you talk to him and this passion makes him not only an expert on the subject but someone who motivates you to excel in your position.

I have always believed that you learn more from your challenges than your failures and there were certainly a few growing pains this year. At the time, these may have felt like failures, however, the wealth of information we gained has most certainly made it all worth it. One of the major challenges we faced this year was the Research Snapshot project. From technical to production aspects there seemed to always be a new problem. All of these problems turned into great lessons and I can move forward with the knowledge that every difficulty we experienced we overcame. Practice does in fact make perfect and I am happy and proud to have been part of the KT Core during this process and helping to finalize the first Research Snapshots for NeuroDevNet.

There were certainly a few surprises along the way and one of these was the fact that KT principles are easily transferrable. Previously I had thought that I would need to learn science-specific KT tools and techniques but this was not the case and I learned that much of KT is transferrable across a range of disciplines. Another surprise I encountered was how much I would grow to respect and love KT, in my opinion it is vastly underappreciated. Luckily, there are practitioners such as Anneliese and David who see the bigger picture and are willing to use KT to keep working towards a more impactful future.

I will miss this position as it has taught me so much and I feel as if there was a good mix of practical and theoretical as we were able to brainstorm how to solve problems and then apply the various solutions we had chosen. This meant that I did not feel alienated from the products the KT Core created and instead was involved in every step of the process. I feel as if the field of KT allows more room for creativity than many other disciplines which is refreshing to see in the current job market. What’s next in store for me? I am hoping to continue working in KT in London (UK) as I still feel as if I have a lot to learn and contribute. I am also considering the possibility of pursuing a PhD. What comes next is uncertain, however, I am absolutely convinced that whatever career path I pursue this position has left a lasting and positive impact on me. It has given me a new perspective on community engagement and research and I believe it will strongly influence and shape my future work.

The Evolution of a Knowledge Translation Coordinator

Elle Seymour reflects on her first 6 months as NeuroDevNet’s first KT Coordinator.  Learning and supporting knowledge translation to improve the lives of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

photo1-for blog post KT

When I tell people that I am a Knowledge Translation Coordinator I am usually met with blank stares or a spark of interest and a follow up question of, “what exactly is that?”  It is easy to take a guess at the coordinator title but knowledge translation is still an emerging field that has many people confused. A very generalized definition of Knowledge Translation is supporting the flow of knowledge from academic research to end users (practitioners, industry, policy makers) including the general public where it can be practically rather than theoretically applied. David Phipps (KT Lead, NeuroDevNet) likes to say that KT “helps make research useful to society”. When I first discovered the job posting I was excited about the prospect of working in an emerging field that was beginning to be understood to be highly relevant by governments and universities alike. At first glance I was worried as I knew very little about knowledge translation, but in reality I just hadn’t properly thought about it before. I attended graduate school at the London School of Economics and Political Science and in addition to their impressive ‘LSE Impact blog’ series, they teach the importance of Knowledge Translation by posing it as a constant problem. LSE is largely focused on international development and education is one of the key resources to improve developing nations. Knowledge translation is necessary in every field and is usually subtly present even if it is not overtly institutionalized.

I decided to apply to the coordinator position as I thought it would make a great starter position that would give me an introduction to the field. I knew that I would have a lot to learn as my background was in Human Rights, but I was happy to gain these new and valuable skills. The job posting listed 3 main responsibilities:  events, products, and social media. I was experienced with events as I have previously organized major conferences and the product support was a transferable skill as it included editing and formatting. The social media however, required some learning to say the least! Before this position I considered myself social media savvy. I wouldn’t have called myself an expert by any means but I was not entirely green either. I have certainly been humbled in this regard as I have seen some social media experts at work (David Phipps-KT Lead, NeuroDevNet is one example) who put my meager knowledge into perspective and along with the KT Core manager, encouraged me to pursue some self-directed learning.

So what’s next? While building my skill set I have been actively supporting the KT Core in making videos (check out our YouTube channel (Click Here), and supporting interviews with NeuroDevNet researchers to identify success stories such as the FASD play ‘Jacob’s Story’ which premiered in Kingston, Ontario earlier this year. I have also supported clear language writing and KT events such as the CP in Motion Day and the Canadian knowledge Mobilization Forum.  In the next few months I plan on implementing these skills to help support a strong and connected network. The NeuroDevNet annual conference in July will be a great opportunity to speak to the researchers that I previously have only been in contact with via email. I also plan on using social media consistently and trying out all of the different methods I have researched. It is an exciting time in regards to the KT products we are working on and in the coming months we are hoping to re-launch our Research Snapshot clear language research summaries.

NeuroDevNet is an exciting initiative that has the potential to positively impact the community and I am happy to contribute to this project, even if that means I have to explain what my job is to everyone I meet!