A legacy dissemination resource from NICHCY
Did you take Section 3 of the Dissemination Self-Inventory, as we suggested? If so, then the discussion here will pick up where the inventory left off, and that’s…
According to NCDDR (the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research), there are four basic elements of dissemination:
Across the next pages, we’re going to look more closely at these four elements, for there’s a lot to know and consider about each. This page focuses on the first basic element of dissemination: Your intended users.
You’ll find the info provided here useful when it comes to developing, expanding, or revising your dissemination plan. As you read, consider how the information applies to you and your disseminating group.
When you think back to the questions in Section 3 of NCDDR’s Dissemination Self-Inventory, were you struck by how often the phrase “intended users” appeared? Here are just a few of the ways:
From these questions and others on the Dissemination Self-Inventory, we can suppose that, to be effective disseminators, we need to:
That’s a tall order, isn’t it? Especially for those of us on limited budgets, with limited staff, and looking at a mountain of work to do. It’s enough to make you run away (we hope you haven’t…and won’t!).
None of us can run away from considering what our users want and need, because it lies at the heart of whether or not they will actually understand and use our products or services. And that’s the bottom line of our work, surely: utilization.
NCDDR states this dissemination truth time and again: The goal of dissemination is utilization. And “one of the most effective ways to increase utilization…is to involve potential users in planning and implementation…” (NCDDR, 2001, p. 6).
Communicating with users during planning and development is not always easy, and it can take a daunting amount of time and energy. Oh, it’s tempting, isn’t it, to just plunge ahead with what we think users need or will use? But consider for a moment the benefits we all stand to gain if we involve users along the way.
And no one will gain more from these disseminator-user exchanges than the users themselves. That’s reason enough to do it.
So, how do we encourage users to share their experiences, questions, concerns, and input with us, so that we might adequately plan ahead? Develop products that are actually useful—and that will be used?
The answer is simple: Ask. Listen. Take action based on what we learn.
The way to those simple things, though, is more challenging. It’s good to know there are many strategies and mechanisms at our fingertips for gathering user input and guidance. These include but are not limited to:
You’ll notice that this list of methods takes advantage of the power of technology to reach a great many people very quickly and richly—but it isn’t limited to using technology. It can’t be. Users vary too much in their techno-savvy, their equipment, their access, and even their overall inclination to use technology. Millions don’t go online, have slow dial-up access, or wait in line at a library for a computer to become available. This means that we must have specific no-tech strategies to reach those users of ours who have no or low tech.
This page has introduced the essential nature of having an ongoing dialogue with your intended users, even the hard-to-reach ones. The benefits of involving users in planning, development, and dissemination itself far outweigh the effort of doing so, or the convenience of not doing so.
SOURCE ARTICLE: Center for Parent Information and Resources
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