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.

Click

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!

What are some of the ways the KT Core is supporting “family engagement” in research?

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

Diverse stakeholders participate in CanChild's 25th anniversary Family Engagement Day

Diverse stakeholders participate in CanChild’s 25th anniversary Family Engagement Day

On November 22nd, 2014 CanChild celebrated its 25th anniversary with a day-long stakeholder meeting located in the student centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. There were 65 professionals, 69 family members (adults) and 33 children/youth.  NeuroDevNet’s KT Core was invited to participate by attending the event and staffing a NeuroDevNet booth. CanChild is part of NeuroDevNet’s Community for Brain Development and NeuroDevNet was one of the sponsors of this event.

 

Director of CanChild, Dr. Jan Willem Gorter says:

“It is only through true partnership and engagement of children, youth and families, health care providers, and anyone else in the lives  of children with disabilities that we can make meaningful progress in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities.  NeuroDevNet sponsored the live streaming of the event with a world-wide reach. The day has been recorded and will posted on the CanChild website.”

During the event, participants contributed to inform research by posting thoughts and ideas on large pink sticky notes on the wall, active discussion in small break out groups, and finally a large report-back discussion.

Stakeholders had the opportunity to share ideas about how to improve family engagement in research

Stakeholders had the opportunity to share ideas about how to improve family engagement in research

Anneliese Poetz, Isaac Coplan NeuroDevNet's KT Core participate in CanChild's Family Engagement Day

Anneliese Poetz, Isaac Coplan NeuroDevNet’s KT Core participate in CanChild’s Family Engagement Day

The small break out groups each had a focus question based on some aspect of research or knowledge translation and a graduate student volunteer note-taker who recorded the main points of the discussion.

Afterwards, participants were treated to a live-band performance by Justin Hines (vocals) and Ash & Bloom (guitar and backup vocals).

Poster Session set up near booth displays

Poster Session set up near booth displays

Isaac Coplan engaging with stakeholders at NeuroDevNet booth

Isaac Coplan engaging with stakeholders at NeuroDevNet booth

Finally, the poster- and booth-display session ended the day.  Isaac Coplan and Anneliese Poetz were visited by approximately 25 parents, practitioners and self-advocates at the NeuroDevNet booth.

 

 

Visitors to the NeuroDevNet booth scan QR code to retrieve .pdf of ResearchSnapshot

Visitors to the NeuroDevNet booth scan QR code to retrieve .pdf of ResearchSnapshot

The ResearchSnapshots were popular, and the laminated copies we brought for the booth included a QR code that linked to the original .pdf online as well as a bitly link that takes you to the webpage containing all the ResearchSnapshots in a particular category (such as CP, ASD, etc.). One visitor to the booth said that if she had had a ResearchSnapshot of the peer-reviewed papers she had to read in her college program called “Autism and Behavioural Science” it would have motivated her to read the entire 30 page paper that the ResearchSnapshot was based on. Others said it was great to see just the important information about current research. One person who stopped by the booth said she was a psychiatrist and would bring some NeuroDevNet brains (stamped with the NeuroDevNet website url) back to her class that she teaches at her university’s medical school.

We got some good ideas for engaging families in research from a participant from Bloorview, such as the suggestion that we should consider having a section on our website listing all current NeuroDevNet studies the way Bloorview does on its “Participate in Research” tab. Overall, the booth was successful at raising awareness among current and future practitioners about NeuroDevNet and its research.

The KT Core also coordinated and facilitated a tweetchat in collaboration with CanChild on November 18th, 2014 as a way to generate online family engagement prior to the in-person event. There were 17 participants, 268 tweets and 71,894 impressions (possible reach based on size of networks of tweetchat participants).  Some participants were parents and we had some good discussion about family engagement in research.

Questions for the 1-hour tweetchat included:

1) What does it mean to families to be ‘engaged’ in research?

2) How can we (researchers) do a better job of engaging families?

3) What strategies would you recommend to engage youth in research?

4) What supports/platforms/methods can facilitate family or youth engagement?

5) How does one measure the impact of family engagement?

6) What are your experiences of being engaged (or engaging) in research?

The entire transcript is available online as well as additional statistics.

The KT Core can set up and staff a NeuroDevNet booth at your KT event, and can help you set up and facilitate a tweetchat for stakeholder engagement to obtain input/feedback on your research. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, 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.