Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research

KTDRR's Dissemination Self-Inventory

Scoring Guide

The scoring guide is designed to help you identify strengths and weaknesses by rating your project plans along an effectiveness continuum that is applied to each of nine dissemination-related topics. You may view "Your Results" by clicking on any of the nine topics in the left-side menu.

Topics include the four into which the self-inventory questions are organized, that is, organizational structure and policies, research design, dissemination plan, and evaluation plan. In addition, the scoring guide addresses the four basic elements of dissemination—intended users, source, content, and media—and, finally, diversity.

There are four categories within the effectiveness continuum: nominal, weak, improving, and effective. Each of these categories is described in general terms below. It is likely, however, that your project scores will vary across topics. For example, your project may fit into the weak category under the topic organizational structure and policies, but fit into the improving category under dissemination plan.

Nominal — Refers to the most basic, traditionally oriented dissemination approach. Dissemination is not an organizational priority; rather, it tends to be an activity “tacked on" to the end of a research project. Few dissemination media are employed other than publication in professional journals and conference presentations. There is little or no focus on end users of research outputs, with the primary audience usually consisting of other disability research and development professionals.

Weak — Refers to a dissemination approach that moves—but rather minimally—beyond the basics. Dissemination remains low on the priority list within the organization, receiving “lip service" but little sustained attention. While the dissemination audience remains primarily other research and development R&D professionals, there may also be some focus on service providers or other intermediaries. The project or organization may attempt to expand the dissemination media used, setting up a Web site, for example, or producing a newsletter. However, little attention is paid to identifying the characteristics, needs, and priorities of intended users.

Improving — Refers to a project or organization that has begun trying to strengthen its dissemination approaches. Although dissemination is still perceived as somewhat removed from the tasks of research and development, some attention is paid to the subject in overall organizational policies and procedures, and during the planning phases of R&D projects. Efforts are made to identify specific subgroups of intended users, though users are still not strongly involved in providing planning input or direct feedback regarding project plans. Some attention is paid to addressing diversity, at least along the dimensions of disability, race, and language. A number of dissemination media are used, with some tailoring to specific user groups. Evaluation of project effectiveness includes at least some attention to actual use of project outcomes by specific user groups.

Effective — Refers to an organization within which dissemination is considered an integral and important part of the research and development process. Dissemination is defined as going beyond “getting the word out," with actual use of R&D outputs as the end goal. Dissemination is addressed in organizational policies and procedures, and these are supported through professional development, quality assurance methods, or other institutional processes. Dissemination is addressed in the early planning stages, with intended users treated as key to both effective R&D and effective dissemination. Project staff identify specific subgroups among intended users, attending to potential differences in needs, interests, and concerns along multiple dimensions. Intended users have input into the planning process, and research methods as well as dissemination approaches are geared to obtaining useful data from all intended user groups. Project staff examine both methods and materials to identify cultural assumptions that may be embedded in them. The project uses a variety of dissemination media, tailoring them to intended user groups. Dissemination strategies include provisions for person-to-person contact with project staff and/or trusted intermediaries. Evaluation is also considered an integral part of the project, with a strong focus on obtaining useful data that can help improve disability research outcomes. Evaluation activities are planned with input from those who will use the results, and evaluation methods are designed to obtain feedback from all intended user subgroups. Indicators of effectiveness are identified in measurable terms, and data collection methods are geared to indicators.

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Developed under NIDILRR Project Number: H133A060028 (2005) & 90DP0027

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