Stage 5: Disseminating
Why involve the public/patients at this stage?
Dissemination of your research is critical if the knowledge gained from the research is to have an impact. Effective dissemination can also help identify the need for further research in a particular area, lead to implementation and generate funding for further research. That’s why involving the public or patients in this stage can help ensure you’re communicating your work in a way that people can understand, access and use.
How your research could benefit
Involving patients or the public in the dissemination stage of your research can:
- Improve the dissemination process due to the dedication and influence of those involved
- Help reach wider and more diverse scientific and lay audiences
- Improve the translation of the research by using language and messages that are more easily understood by a lay audience
- Increase the power and credibility of your message and raise the profile of your research
- Improve the likelihood of your research being continued, adopted or implemented
How you could benefit
Involving patients and the public in your work at the dissemination stage can have a positive impact on you too:
- Improve your ability to write in “Plain English”
- Learn more creative, mixed media methods of talking about and sharing results
- Increase the prominence and relevance of your public and scientific profile
- Gain greater public recognition for your work
Ways to involve the public at this stage
- Involve patients/the public in summarising the research findings in clear and accessible ways
- Invite a range of people to review your lay summaries, manuscripts, reports or descriptions of public involvement activities
- Co-develop your dissemination strategy with your target audience - they may suggest novel ways to share the results
- Invite those involved throughout the project to speak at conferences, or to patients, support groups and service providers
- Give patients or public members who had a large part in the research project an active part in sharing the work, e.g. publishing online, writing to journalists, creating leaflets for waiting rooms or community centres that explain the research
Here are a few real-life examples for inspiration:
The EVE Appeal
With the EVE Appeal, engagement is the first step to involvement. They are a UK charity raising awareness and funding research into five gynaecological cancers. They’re proactive communicators of their work and even sent a letter to everyone who took part in a screening trial to offer them the chance to continue to receive updates.
Published examples where researchers have used public involvement in disseminating research
Other resources for disseminating your research
- The Health Foundation – Communicating your Research – a toolkit
- How to read a scientific paper (web page) - a useful resource for lay partners involved in developing/reviewing research publications. It offers a clear summary of a scientific paper, including what the different sections should contain
- Rethinking Diversity in Publishing (2020) - Dr Anamik Saha and Dr Sandra van Lente
If you're interested in the benefits of public involvement at this stage, here's how to getting going:
3 column colour block - next steps
Go to the next research stages - Implementing & Evaluating - or use the navigation bar at the top to explore where else public involvement could help.