Dissemination

Digital media open up lots of possibilities for disseminating research. They can enhance traditional research outputs, for example by adding video clips to journal articles or delivering reports as pdf files. Or they can be used to create new kinds of research outputs, such as research blogs, podcasts and social media feeds.

Disseminating research through digital media can help you to:

  • Engage with a wider range of audiences, thereby creating wider impacts.
  • Make dissemination an ongoing process that takes place throughout a project, rather than something done at the end.
  • Create opportunities for dialogue with audiences before, during and after a project, using the interactive features of social media.
  • Involve young people as active participants in dissemination.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that:

  • Digital media dissemination can take as much (or even more) time and effort as traditional methods.
  • Simply making outputs available online doesn’t mean that people will engage with them. Publicising and profiling your work to your target audiences is crucial.
  • Your target audience may not have access to digital media. Factors such as institutional firewalls, age, socio-economic status and geographical location can be restrictive.
  • For some studies, sharing outputs publicly online may not be appropriate, e.g. sensitive topics, vulnerable participants, or research with a discrete or limited audience.

Planning your digital dissemination carefully at the outset is therefore advisable.

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Quotes

“The approach of putting something up on a social media site and expecting the work to be done on dissemination is not realistic. The attention that we’ve always given to how we disseminate our findings should be given as well to using the online world.”
Susan Elsley, University of Edinburgh