During this global pandemic there has been an increased demand for leading experts at York University to help inform the public, health practitioners and policy makers with research relevant to COVID-19. To help make this research relevant and understandable, knowledge mobilization is more important than ever. Knowledge mobilization is defined as making research relevant to society, and this work is done purposefully.
Innovation York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit is available to help support researchers with strategies and tools to help mobilize their research. Michael Johnny and Krista Jensen, staff within the Knowledge Mobilization Unit offer the following tips for researchers seeking to mobilize their knowledge:
Communicate in clear language
There are multiple audiences, including the public, who are keen to access relevant information to help inform decisions around public health. Clear communication is vital in conveying messages about your research. Be concise in sharing relevant messages. Where appropriate, keep your messages actionable. Before people can act on your research, they need to understand it. The best tip these days – pretend you are communicating your research to your grandmother.
Consider how audiences like to access information
Here, we can look to research project teams and see excellent examples of how they are mobilizing their research during the pandemic:
Boredom Lab: Clinical psychologist, John Eastwood has seen increased interest in his research since the onset of this pandemic. His team has translated research findings into infographics to help engage and inform the public around boredom, including strategies for coping with self-isolation.
Homeless Hub: Canada’s leading homelessness researcher, Stephen Gaetz (Education) uses collaborative partnerships to help inform knowledge mobilization efforts. His team uses knowledge mobilization tools like social media and research summaries (among others) to help share key messages with the public and key decision makers. They have developed specific resources for the sector related to COVID-19.
Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research: Dahdaleh Distinguished Chair, Steven Hoffman has become even busier these days. Media engagement is woven into Steven’s daily calendar, and he presents key messages with clarity to help educate and inform the public. Recently, their team has completed development of a Global Health Portal, specific to COVID-19
Be aware of your goals
Regardless of the knowledge mobilization tools you use, researchers should be aware of the goals of their knowledge mobilization efforts. There are three overarching goals for consideration: to generate awareness, to inform policy decisions and practice, or to impart tools and new knowledge. Your knowledge mobilization efforts should align to these goals, in addition to considering how your audiences like to access information.
The Knowledge Mobilization Unit is available to help researchers tailor a plan and develop knowledge mobilization products to help ensure their research can have its greatest impact.
Contact the knowledge mobilization unit at firstname.lastname@example.org