This is an Eval Central archive copy, find the original at freshspectrum.com.
Sharing our work well takes skill and experience. But not every data person has these skills. Should they?
Qualified to Do the Work ? Qualified to Share the Work
The vast majority of PhD and MA programs are not going to give their students enough training around digital dissemination to make them experts in sharing their work online. It’s just not how the programs are designed. Their dissemination focus is on sharing work via academic journals, conference presentations, and traditional reports (aka documentation).
Subsequently, there are a LOT of highly qualified researchers & evaluators who do not have the qualifications necessary to properly share their work over the web.
This isn’t a dig, there is a lot that you need to know in order to do the work. And you don’t need to know how to share the work to do the work. And for a large share of academics, the web is still, more or less, uncharted territory. We have to stop pretending otherwise.
Far too often government agencies, large Non-Profits, and NGOs trust highly educated PIs and project directors to lead the public dissemination of their work. And because of that, millions upon millions of public dollars go into projects that ultimately get shared poorly.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Right information, wrong format.
In a nutshell, sharing requires more than just the right information.
Information needs also extend to the format of the information shared. One large well designed PDF is insufficient to meet modern information sharing needs.
Your reports should be diverse collections of micrographics, infographics, slidedocs, GIFs, videos, short visual reports, and, yes, long PDFs. This is the only way they can really meet broad audience needs.
Don’t add a step, add a role (or a partner).
There are people who have the skills necessary to create reports fast enough to make creating more reports feasible. Yes, I am one, and I also train others to do this kind of work.
If you’re struggling to create a bunch of different types of reports, it’s because you don’t yet have the skillset or the team that is needed to do the reporting work effectively and efficiently. This is a capacity problem.
But you should also stop thinking about dissemination as the last step in the research or evaluation process. If your project is big enough, you should have a person on your team (or multiple persons) who have the responsibility for disseminating your work. And that person (or persons) should have the qualifications necessary to perform this role.
The Easy Dissemination Process
You want to know the easy dissemination process?
- Do the work.
- Then have someone with the right qualifications share the work.
It can be that simple.
The person who shares is responsible for understanding your audience’s needs and adapting your work to meet those needs. They are the ones who know how to quickly create micrographics, infographics, slidedocs, gifs, videos, interactives, visual reports, and all the other things modern audiences desire.
And if you want to be that person who know how to do those things. Put some time and effort into learning the skills and developing the qualifications necessary to take on that role.