Reporting and dissemination

Methods of dissemination

As the importance of dissemination and impact becomes increasingly recognised, researchers are using ever more innovative methods – including websites, video, conferences, drama, and even exhibitions. 

As with other forms of reporting, think about the best way to reach your desired target audiences.  What is their availability in terms of time?  How can you accommodate their levels of interest, and levels of understanding?  Would people come to a seminar or meeting?  Could you reach workers through an article or news item in a professional magazine?  Are there any organisations that could help you with dissemination?  For example, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) hosts a Research Register, which gives information about relevant studies in adult and children’s social care. 

Think about writing at differing levels and lengths for different audiences.  Writing short reports for research participants can help researchers to analyse and summarise their work very clearly, and can provide a useful accessible document that you could circulate more widely.

Some funders also publish short project summaries or briefing papers, aimed at target groups such as practitioners.  Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Findings  series provides a very useful model of this accessible style, as do the Nuffield Foundation’s Briefing Papers. 

If you have ideas for dissemination which involve more extensive work not covered in your original proposal, one possibility would be to apply for additional funding specifically for this work.  The Nuffield Foundation encourages grant applicants to include provision for the dissemination of project findings to practitioners within the planning of projects, but they may also consider applications for supplementary grants for this purpose.  The ESRC Follow On Funding Scheme  is specifically designed to support knowledge transfer and impact.  If you have ideas for dissemination activities linked to your research, it is worth consulting with your original funder to see if you could apply for some limited funds to support dissemination activities.