Recommendations for knowledge mobilization

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ddandar
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What is knowledge mobilization?

Knowledge mobilization is the process of translating research into plain language and other non-academic formats to make research accessible, available, engaging and comprehensible for the public. It involves exchanging ideas between researchers, local communities and the world. SSHRC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, defines knowledge mobilization as "[t]he reciprocal and complementary flow and uptake of research knowledge between researchers, knowledge brokers and knowledge users—both within and beyond academia—in such a way that may benefit users and create positive impacts" (SSHRC, 2019). This post is a collaborative effort between the Library and Research Services in support of knowledge mobilization at RRU. 

Why is knowledge mobilization important?

Knowledge mobilization facilitates the use of research by other researchers, practitioners, policymakers, external stakeholders and the general public to inform decisions that are rooted in evidence and make real-world impacts. Strategies for supporting knowledge mobilization ensure that your research is understood, discussed and put into practice by a variety of audiences.

How can I mobilize my research?

Knowledge mobilization is often the last step in a research project, but one that can be greatly improved by planning for it at the beginning. This is simple enough when we are writing proposals to funding agencies, as those agencies will require explicit plans for knowledge mobilization/dissemination. Sections on knowledge mobilization have traditionally focused on scholarly outputs: Publication in academic journals, presentations at conferences, and the inclusion of research and its findings in curriculum development. These days, knowledge mobilization can mean more: Policy development, reports to organizations and government, multimedia (videos, art creation, websites, podcasts) op-ed pieces, and community outputs such as workshops or toolkits. As we design research projects, having a clear sense of who the end user(s) will be can help to guide the path of the research. Even if a piece of research doesn’t require funding, it is worth taking time to plan the intended outputs of the research and guide the work accordingly.

Some questions researchers can ask themselves in support of developing a knowledge mobilization plan:

  • What are the scholarly benefits? (e.g. How will this research inform scholarly knowledge, develop or inform theory – this can guide where and how researchers publish and present their work).

  • How will this influence change? (e.g. Who will need to hear about this research, and how will that happen?)

  • Who will this benefit outside of academia? (e.g. If this research can inform practice, how so? How will practitioners learn of the results of the research?)

Here are some tips for getting started with knowledge mobilization: 

  1. Raise your research profile. 

Sign up for an ORCID in less than 60 seconds to create a unique identifier to ensure your work is easily findable and attributed to you. For more information, please see this library tip on ORCID for researchers.

  1. Consider sharing your work on social media. 

Not everyone will feel comfortable sharing their work through social media, which can be rife with harassment and privacy concerns. Placing your safety and privacy first is valid - social media is not mandatory! 

If you choose to share your work on social media, the ebook “Social Media for Researchers: A Practical Guide” provides a good overview to help you get started.

  1. Use arts-based research methods. 

SAGE Research Methods, one of the library’s many databases, contains several resources for using creative research methods.

  1. Curate an exhibit of your research. 

Showcase is a physical venue located in the RRU Library.  Showcase promotes knowledge mobilization within and beyond the RRU community as research is translated and reformatted to multimedia and other digital formats to develop visual, interactive exhibits that facilitate the communication of research outcomes to both academic and non-academic audiences. For more information, please contact the library.

  1. Share your work in VIURRSpace.

VIURRSpace is RRU and VIU’s shared open-access repository of faculty and selected student research. The repository facilitates increased visibility of publications by the broadest possible audience as work in VIURRSpace is discoverable through Google and is open to the public. For more information, please contact the library.

Where can I go for more information?

Additional resources:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. (2019). Definition of terms. Retrieved from https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/programs-programmes/definitions-eng.aspx#km-mc