How do you effectively communicate with policy makers and the public?

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Funmilayo Doherty

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Jul 19, 2021, 3:25:16 AM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Hello members

Many research findings do not have direct impact on the society. Researchers do not also effectively communicate with policy makers or decision makers and there is a need to bridge that gap between policy makers/public and researchers. 

I would like you to kindly share your ideas and experience in engaging with policy makers or the public. What are the challenges you faced doing this?

I found this blog post useful, it provides tips on communicating research to policymakers and the public.

https://www.authoraid.info/en/news/details/1221/

 

Funmilayo Doherty PhD

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Angela Uloaku Nwankwere

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Jul 19, 2021, 4:44:03 AM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Good morning Dr Doherty.
I am Dr Angela Uloaku Ngozi Nwankwere. Thanks immensely for this information and link. I am having the same problem. My PhD investigated the need to teach and learn Nigerian languages in tertiary institutions as foreign/second languages for cohesive interrelationships, conflict resolution, and most of all language, national and economic development. Igbo is now being taught as a general course like English in many tertiary institutions in Igbo land. I investigated Nnamdi Azikiwe University's Igbo General Course because it is the most advanced since it has two streams: Igbo GS L1 for all first year undergraduates of Igbo origin and Igbo GS L2 for non-Igbo indigenes, which I investigated. Both the Igbo GS lecturers and their non-Igbo students identified various needs for Igbo. The students further identified the need for other Nigerian languages, particularly Hausa and Yoruba to be established as GS courses.
But, apart from presenting papers from my PhD at conferences, I do not know any other means of  effectively communicating with policy makers or decision makers to get them become aware of the findings and on the way forward.
Once more, thanks very much.

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Ponha Uk

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Jul 19, 2021, 4:44:24 AM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Dear Doherty,

 

In my country’s context (Cambodia), research projects and teams should engage from the first place with policymakers and include some of gov’t officials into the projects since the first stage of project/research proposal development. From the highest to the lowest level of gov’t structure, we, as researchers, should involve them so that our projects/research can be smoothly implemented along the way and the findings will have direct impact on the society and may influence the policymakers.

 

Ponha

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zainab Yunusa-Kaltungo

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Jul 19, 2021, 4:55:50 AM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Thank you for bringing up this all important topic and the resource you shared, Dr. Doherty. 
Hi Angela, did you publish any articles from your PhD thesis and consider leveraging commonly used platforms (Twitter, research gate etc) to disseminate your work? 


Regards
Zainab


Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 19, 2021, at 09:44, Ponha Uk <po...@uhs.edu.kh> wrote:



John Aduku

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Jul 19, 2021, 9:57:13 AM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Dear Dr Doherty,

I think that most researchers have been disseminating their research findings, it tend not to get to the desired audience or maybe policy makers aren't looking in the right direction to get insights from these findings and recommendation when designing policies.

I agree with Zainab that researchers could take further steps to publicise their articles, book contributions, and conference papers through their social media platforms or even create podcasts to talk about their findings and implications for policy design, you never know how far it will reach than just publishing and not actively seeking feedback from policy makers or the public.

John A. ADUKU


Funmilayo Doherty

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Jul 19, 2021, 1:00:24 PM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Hello Dr Angela
In addition to the ideas given by Zainab, you can also write a policy brief.  Policy briefs are a key tool to present research and recommendations to a non-specialized audience. They serve as a vehicle for providing evidence-based policy advice to help readers make informed decisions.
There is a planned webinar on this topic, I will communicate the details once finalized, I believe you will also benefit from the session
 What do you think about these suggestions? 

Funmilayo 
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Funmilayo Doherty

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Jul 19, 2021, 1:04:01 PM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Hello Ponha
I quite agree with you. Policy makers should be involved from the first stage of the research. However, how many researchers do have this opportunity to reach out to policy makers. What strategies do you think researchers can use to reach out ? 

Funmilayo 
AuthrAID Steward

Funmilayo Doherty

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Jul 19, 2021, 1:07:09 PM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Hello John
Thanks for your contributions. Researches disseminate their findings mostly through conferences and journal articles, but how many policy makers read through journal articles or even attend academic conferences. What do you think can be done to bridge this gap?

Funmlayo 
Author AID Steward 

Funmilayo Doherty

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Jul 19, 2021, 1:08:25 PM (11 days ago) Jul 19
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Thanks Zainab for these ideas. I guess very few researchers disseminate their research findings through social media platforms. 

Angela Uloaku Nwankwere

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Jul 19, 2021, 5:56:49 PM (10 days ago) Jul 19
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Hello House!
I am very grateful and highly appreciate all the insightful discussions here. I never knew the usefulness of social media in disseminating such academic issues of national import. I don't even have a twitter account, what more knowing how to use it to a great advantage. I am going to have one soonest. Thanks Fumi. I am eagerly awaiting the stated webinar and other useful sources that anyone could proffer. Good night all!

Angela

Lamech Chimphero

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Jul 20, 2021, 3:21:44 AM (10 days ago) Jul 20
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This is one of the areas that has been ignored for a long time. Our libraries are full of research papers that have never been known hence have no impact on national development. The most important challenge is the non involvement of key players when coming up with those papers. In my country the National Commission of Science and Technology (NCST) which was managed to oversee all research activities, has tried to consolidate these researches but not all since there are so many fronts that are involved in reach activities. So I want to agree with Ponha that one way of making sure that our research papers have impact is to involve people or organizations that can help us in disseminating our research.

Lamech 

Revocatus Kuluchumila

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Jul 20, 2021, 3:21:53 AM (10 days ago) Jul 20
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Dissemination through local media,  policy briefs,  posters  could help to reach them. 

Ponha Uk

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Jul 20, 2021, 3:22:12 AM (10 days ago) Jul 20
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Hello Funmilayo,

 

In practical experiences, for instance, if your research is about MCH, there are a few key stakeholders that your team needs to engage from the very first stage:

  1. Your researcher team needs to reach out to the national maternal and child health center (which is under the ministry of health and work directly for MCH area).
  2. Next, they need to reach out also to the National Institute of Public Health (from which your proposal’s approval will be granted)
  3. The university of health sciences should also be informed as the Secretariat of IRB (in Cambodia we call it National Ethics Committee for Health Research) is also the Rector of this university and all proposals need to be checked by him first.
  4. Other NGO(s) working in the same field should also be involved – to make sure there are no overlapping activities and to ask for their collaboration.
  5. Support letter(s) will be sought from each of the provincial administrations – if your research is to be conducted in provinces. Because provincial health department is now under the governance of provincial administration.

 

Of note, there are some research topics which are politically sensitive and are restricted by MOH. In this case, your proposal will not be approved by NECHR and you cannot do your research activities.

 

We should prepare the research topics which will response to the country’s needs and MOH’s priority areas/problems.

 

Thus, if you failed to engage those key stakeholders from the beginning, it’s very unlikely that your research will be successful – either your proposal will be approved or your findings will be useful for the relevant national programs in this country.

 

Thanks.

John Aduku

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Jul 20, 2021, 4:23:29 AM (10 days ago) Jul 20
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Dr Doherty, I think one sure way is to take novel findings that are useful for policy consideration to the policymakers; make them attend these conferences and send hard or soft copies of conference materials and journal articles to read and make comments too.

Also if these policy makers and researchers find themselves in communities of practice, I think they can further have stimulating interactions and policy design, formulation and implementation wouldn't be solely the responsibility of policymakers but a collaborative effort.

John ADUKU


Dilshani Dissanayake

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Jul 20, 2021, 5:03:36 AM (10 days ago) Jul 20
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Dear all,
Many thanks for the active discussion and comments! Policy makers are an integral component of impactful research. Training researchers from very early stages to present scientific information to general public in a comprehensible and an attractive manner is important when targeting policy makers . Using techniques  such as three minutes talk/bus stop talks can be useful in training young researchers. Research oriented institutions need to have systems in place to connect researchers with relevant policy makers. 
Dilshani

Olaniyi Ayodele

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Jul 20, 2021, 1:25:58 PM (10 days ago) Jul 20
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Ideally, the executive should have think-thanks and other research institutions investigating problems and proferring solutions that are escalated for immediate implementation. I remember one time, I was reading on Foreign Policy of Nigeria and I saw that even the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs is expected to harvest ideas and recommendations through conferences and its other publications. The only problem is that, when they escalate these issues, is there political will to implement?

On Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 8:25 AM Funmilayo Doherty <funmilay...@yabatech.edu.ng> wrote:
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Kojo Ahiakpa

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Jul 21, 2021, 12:20:34 PM (9 days ago) Jul 21
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Dear All,

This is an interesting discussion topic. 

Scientists' impact will almost always be limited to their immediate academic circles our research findings do not get the attention of those who have the authority to act on them. Local, state, and federal authorities who craft rules and regulations, develop budgets, or administer communities are frequently among those who fall into this category. Also, industry, professional bodies/associations, traditional rulers/setup, opinion leaders, local authorities and the general public by the classical definition of policy are key stakeholders in the policy space. 

The ability to communicate effectively is essential for efficient collaboration. Making your way through the realm of policy can be difficult. When it comes to institutions, they might appear impenetrable, and decision-making can be difficult to understand. The good news is that straightforward tactics can assist scientists in efficiently communicating with policymakers. The AuthorAID Online Journal Club-Environmental Toxicology section is organising a session on 'Developing science policy communication skills: A strategic tool for early career researchers'. The date will be announced soon and am sure this will be useful to most of us. For the meantime, you can access this experience-share here: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-02372-3 which highlights hands-on approaches to communicating research findings to policymakers/relevant stakeholders.

Fascinating discussions.
Bless you all!

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