A dissemination planning tool can be a valuable resource for researchers across all stages of a research project.
Its purpose is to prompt and encourage researchers to think of the potential impact of their research findings and construct a formal dissemination plan at the outset to communicate this impact to potential users. This plan should go beyond the traditional methods of publishing in peer-reviewed journals and conference papers.
For example, a dissemination planning tool can help you:
- Identify the intended users of your research as well as potential dissemination partners
- Create simple, clear ways of communicating the purpose and benefits of your research to these individuals and/or organisations.
- Refine your research question in light of stakeholder questions and concerns
- Generate stakeholder interest in your project
- Satisfy funding bodies’ KT planning requirements.
- The following tools are available online for immediate use.
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research. End-of-grant knowledge translation (KT) plan worksheet.
- Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality. Dissemination Planning Tool: Exhibit A: Volume 4. Programs, Tools, and Products.
The components of a dissemination plan
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) outlines six major elements to a research dissemination plan . These are summarised here.
- What is ‘the product’?
- Which parts of the research project are to be disseminated and to whom?
- How should messages be crafted to convey value to specific user groups?
- Is the research actually ready to be implemented?
- Who are the potential end-users of my research?
- What do they need and value?
- Why would my research be of interest to them?
- Have I considered the formal structures and systems in which my end-users work? (E.g. regulatory pressures, policies and procedures)
- Can these systems/networks be mobilised to further disseminate the product?
- What barriers might deter users from implementing change?
- How can these be mitigated?
- Who can I engage as dissemination partners?
- What existing networks–both formal and informal—can I tap into to extend the reach and influence of my message?
- Can I capitalise on the credibility, expertise, and connectedness of certain opinion leaders or organisations?
- Have I aligned the message with key organisational goals and values? What would be in it for them?
- What communication strategies should I use? E.g. published, unpublished materials, education, websites, academic detailing etc.
- What channels are available to me?
- How do I anticipate my end-users would seek this information?
- How will I measure success in meeting my dissemination goals?
- How will I involve end-users in evaluating the success of the dissemination effort?
- How will I use their feedback to inform ongoing research or future dissemination activities?
 Carpenter D, Nieva V, Albaghal T, et al. Development of a planning tool to guide research dissemination. In: Henriksen K, Battles JB, Marks ES, et al., editors. Advances in patient safety: from research to implementation (Volume 4: Programs, Tools, and Products). Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2005 Feb. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20603/