A Field Note Describing the Development and Dissemination of Clear Language Research Summaries for University-Based Knowledge Mobilization
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Objectives: The outputs of academic research are often written in technical language that is not accessible or useful to non-academic audiences. We set out to develop and disseminate clear language research summaries as one element of York University’s Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) strategy. This field note describes how we developed, evaluated, and disseminated clear language research summaries as tools for research outreach and communication. Methods and Results: We worked under the auspices of a Steering Committee of research stakeholders and under the instruction of a clear language writing and design specialist to develop research summaries in a format that would comply with clear language writing and design principles. This format was tested in roundtables of diverse research stakeholders and has received positive feedback from diverse research users. The research summaries were made accessible online and disseminated using a social media strategy. The use of Twitter to enhance dissemination of the research summaries increased web traffic to the research summary database by 270%. Conclusions: We find that clear language research summaries are appealing to non-academic decision-makers and can be used to disseminate research findings to a wide online audience. Based on this feedback we have adopted this standard research summary format as part of an institutional knowledge mobilization strategy. Providing greater access to research summaries has the potential to connect decision-makers and communities to academic researchers, which ultimately helps academic research to inform decision-making.
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