Multiple sites of dissemination
Maximise the benefits of research by disseminating to as wide a range of audiences as is possible and appropriate, using multiple modes and formats
Working across boundaries and engaging with academic-practitioner networks still tend to be rather uncommon activities for researchers, and take many out of their comfort zones. In addition, most researchers work under considerable time constraints and considerable professional pressure to produce academic publications.
Academic publications are very rarely read by non-academics, and may be inaccessible if they are in expensive books or journals that are not available outside university libraries. In addition, many people find academic language off-putting, and perhaps even incomprehensible. As a result, the findings of research projects are often communicated only to small and specialised academic audiences, not to Transition groups and other non-academic users who may be interested in their practical applications.
Dissemination to non-academic users is one of the most important tasks in the research process, but is rarely given adequate attention. The time allocated may be insufficient, or even non-existent. Researchers may not have the skills or confidence to communicate with audiences outside their professional field. As a result, much research of potential practical value is left 'on the shelf', and not translated into advances in either intellectual understandings, debate or action on the part of practitioners.
This can be an issue of limited resources as much as a lack of will or knowledge of other networks/audiences; though increasingly, funds are available for academic research in particular to disseminate findings to non-academic "users" - see Making a Difference.
Sometimes it is an issue of findings not being disseminated in formats that are appropriate to the intended audiences. For this reason, some of the best examples of research use different media, modes and formats - for example websites, presentations, interactive or physical community maps, podcasts, film, other creative media, posters, advertising campaigns, etc, as well as more traditional articles and reports. The format chosen should depend on the topic, intended audience and desired impact.
Involving local Transition initiatives in dissemination can be a good way of making sure that new knowledge gets to those to whom it may be useful. Such events often generate a lot of interest and can help raise the group's profile and credibility locally. They also provide a good excuse for local and/or regional networking.
Disseminaton of the Connection, Participation and Empowerment project included regional 'Theory of Change' events organised by groups who had taken part in the project's early stages. Most participants valued the opportunity for regional networking as a useful outcome in itself, regardless of the content. If possible, build a local dissemination event into your research. In a funded project, including some financial support for local hosting can be a good way to share resources.
Project websites are a good way to share findings and outputs, and can cater to multiple audiences. A good example is Mr. Seel's Garden. The Transition Research Network provides web space on its projects page - sometime for projects without their own website, sometimes linking back to the main project site.
The Transition Research Network also disseminates research news through dedicated Transition media: a summary of new publications in the Transition Network newsletter and regular articles in the Transition Free Press.
Communicate research as widely as possible: both through appropriate academic outputs and in different formats and media accessible to Transition groups.
several new patterns on particular modes of dissemination (replace existing 99. Dissemination
There is also potential to elevate this to an Approach and fill it out with several patterns based on the textual narrative.
Two stars only because of the uncertainty over its scope/relationship with other patterns - three stars for the general point.