Ensuring quality in research dissemination
PublicSpace work to ensure that the dissemination is relevant to practice and remains grounded in the research evidence.
Our goal is to distil and present information and issues so that they will engage and inform the intended audience, and will be respected by experts and practitioners in the field. We achieve it through experience, collaboration, careful review and professional technology.
Quality also depends on:
- the quality and rigour of the original research,
- the active interest of the research team in communicating beyond academia,
- the timing of the collaboration, and
- the allocation of funding as a proportion of the whole project.
Collaboration and review
Producing effective text and video involves dialogue with the research team and potential users about what information is relevant, accurate and appropriate, and involves collaboration around the drafting, reviewing, editing and design. Our role as partial outsider is helpful in asking fundamental questions, and prompting explanations of core issues, which may appear ‘obvious’ to those in the field but which the intended audience(s) needs to hear.
All work is reviewed carefully by PublicSpace internally, as well as by the research team and participants. We obtain written release permissions from all locations and participants, and advocate external review and trailing before final release.
The earlier you contact us and we become involved, the more we can help to keep the dialogue and the wider dissemination in focus as part of the aims of the project, and so ensure that it is made possible. The opportunities for dialogue, and for video dissemination, can become limited as key moments and events pass, participants move on, and it is all overtaken by other pressures at the end of a project.
Ensuring quality p2
Thinking and planning early in a project does not mean deciding your conclusions before completing the research! It just means ensuring that you build the resources for the dissemination during the project.
If you contact us at the application stage, we can build the wider communication into the budget. If the funding is already agreed, or the project started, then we can review what is possible and what you want to achieve.
Costs and funding
We sometimes receive requests for ambitious documentaries and other communication which could be excellent, but which after allocating years of work to the research somehow assume just a few days is enough to distil and communicate the findings in a way that makes them relevant, useful and useable. We are committed to the value of research dissemination, but we also need an income! In a plea to be realistic, the following seems important.
To budget the wider communication of your research to inform policy, professional practice and debate, it is useful to review this as a percentage of the total project budget. In other words, it is useful to consider what you want the wider communication of the research to achieve, and the value of this in relation to the whole project.
Dissemination outputs are often the most valued and visible outputs from a project. They will be used and remembered. So at less than 10% of the research budget, they are extremely good value.
If your funder has guidelines on the percentage for research communication, then the task is work out an effective use of that funding. (Note that this allocation may be just for the ‘knowledge exchange’ events and ‘knowledge transfer’ outputs, so there may be some flexibility for stakeholder dialogue and investigations of potential user interest, concerns and priorities to be considered as part of the main research.)