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P54 Bursting out of our bubble: using creative techniques to communicate research findings
  1. J Thompson Coon,
  2. N Orr,
  3. E Shaw,
  4. M Nunns,
  5. R Whear
  1. South West Peninsula ARC (PeARC), University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK


Background The increasing pressure on scientists and researchers to publicise research findings and generate impact, alongside an expectation from funding bodies to go beyond publication within academic journals has generated interest in alternative methods of science communication.

Our aim is to share and describe our experience of using a variety of creative communication tools, reflect on their use in different situations, enhance learning and generate discussion within the research community.

Methods Over the last 4 years, we have explored a number of creative communication tools (illustration, podcasts, blogs, briefing papers, board games and social media shareable content) to share our research with the diverse range of people who could benefit from the findings and extend dissemination beyond traditional academic mechanisms.

Central to our approach is the co-production of a communication plan with potential evidence users which facilitates i) the identification of key messages for different audiences, ii) discussion of appropriate tools to communicate the key messages and iii) exploration of avenues to share them. We aim to involve evidence users in the production of tools where appropriate and to produce a variety of outputs for each research project cognisant of the many ways in which individuals choose to engage with information.

Results Our experience has allowed us to develop an understanding of the pros and cons of a wide range of creative communication tools. For example, board games can be a fun way of learning, may flatten power hierarchies between researchers and research users and enable the sharing of large amounts of complex information in a thought provoking way but they are time and resource intensive both to produce and to engage with. Conversely, social media shareable content can be quick and easy to produce and to engage with but limited in the depth and complexity of shareable information. This method also requires careful consideration of the social media use and habits of the target audience.

Based on this experience, we have developed a simple infographic to guide future decision making.

Conclusion It is widely acknowledged that most stakeholders do not have time to invest in reading large and complex documents; creative communication tools can be a useful mechanism to improve accessibility to key messages. Furthermore, our experience has highlighted a range of additional benefits of embedding these techniques within our project management processes e.g. opening up two-way conversation with end-users of research to discuss the implications of findings.

  • dissemination
  • creative communication
  • knowledge translation

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