Blog Post

Knowledge Mobilization in Community-based Research and beyond (webinar recording)

This is a recording of an in person session that I did recently at the Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre's Immigrant Researchers Support Network event. I focus on Knowledge Mobilization and Community Based Research, providing my take on how important Knowledge Mobilization is in Community Based Research and how newcomer or refugee researchers which what this network is made up of, could contribute to this mission.

I think this is one of the first times I think I've completely articulated my sense of knowledge mobilization in a meaningful way. And so I wanted to share it more broadly, because I think it's useful for anyone who considers themselves a community based researcher. And I mean by that practitioners that service provider organizations and beyond.

Resources mentioned/linked to in presentation:

Session slides:

Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript of the webinar using It may contain errors and odd sentence breaks and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Marco Campana 0:00
Hi, everyone. This is a recording of an in person session that I did recently at the access Alliance, multicultural community health center's immigrant researchers support network event. And I focus on knowledge mobilization and community based research, providing my take on how important knowledge mobilization is in community based research and how newcomer or refugee researchers which what this network is made up of, could contribute to this mesh mission. I think this is one of the first times I think I've completely articulated my sense of knowledge mobilization in a meaningful way. And so I wanted to share it more broadly, because I think it's useful for anyone who considers themselves a community based researcher. And I mean by by that practitioners that service provider organizations and beyond. So I'm going to walk through that with you in this session. So what I what I walked through with them, and what I'll share today is sort of some context of what I consider knowledge mobilization and some definitions, why it's important to share your work broadly within the sector, why it matters, and what you should do next, after this session, what are some steps that you can take. So one of the pieces of context that I like to provide is the fact that access alliance is itself a community based research and knowledge mobilization, organization. And so on the top is their, their model of their approach to community based research. So it's, it's built on community. And it's really sort of foundational for what CBR is, and the goal is really, to ensure that the research process and the study of evidence is there to make change in the in the community. And so that integrates community capacity building, as well as knowledge, translation, and exchange, you can see there they call it que te or knowledge, translation and exchange, and I'll be calling it knowledge mobilization. But essentially, they mean the same thing. And so building those in with within the core of communication research project, so it's not just about research, but it's about making sure that that research has impact. And that as the from from the beginning as a as a forethought, not an afterthought, that that research is going to have an impact on the people who are, who are being served, and also the people who are involved in the research itself. So the idea of community, that that community based research should be a collaborative process that involves all of the stakeholders who might be impacted, or who are sharing information, as well as those who are interested in the issue itself. So when it comes to knowledge mobilization, the framework that they provide here is really again, a collaborative and community grounded framework, where they're you're synthesizing sharing and mobilizing evidence, to advance positive change at three levels with a community level. Right knowledge mobilization, in our sector, in particular, in particular, with community based research is about working with the community, and you're trying to figure out something to help either overcome a gap or identify issues or identify strengths in the community. There's also the impact and change as desired at the organizational level. So what can organizations who are serving these communities gain and understand through the community based research through what's being looked into and what's being shared? And then at the policy level, the highest level where scale can really matter? And, and change can really occur? Whether it's a funding model, or a governing policy, or even legislation or something like that, how can the research impact the policy level, which, of course has a cascading effect, potentially down through the organizational community levels as well. And so when we're thinking about doing more with what, you know, this framework comes from the knowledge Institute on child and youth mental health and addiction and addictions. And it really helps sort of answer a broad set of questions that are part of that forethought. And in many ways. Someone once said to me, a knowledge mobilization is really just about saying, what, so what, and now what I'm really saying they're like, what, what happened? What is this about? So what why does it matter? Why are we looking into this? And now what what do we do next? So broadening it out a bit. When you're approaching community based research or any impact program, you want to look at? Who is involved? Who are the stakeholders? Who are the people you're working with? Who are you looking to share information with? And who's involved in sharing that knowledge as well as who will be impacted by the work that you're doing? In what what knowledge? Are you planning to mobilize? What is it that you're trying to get across? What are the messages, which of course will change for that who right community organizational policy, and the myriad of other actors that might be involved in the process, for example? So why are you interested in mobilizing this knowledge? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to educate, simply inform people, inspire them motivate change, engage them in some sort of a process all of those things were possible and then asking yourself why are these messages important here audience as you'll see this kind of come up time and time again that who in answering that question is really important because everything all the products all the all the the approaches of the tactics you use to mobilize knowledge really, depending on who you're trying to reach and why. And it'll be different for each of those audiences. Each of those groups And then when when you want to try and mobilize this knowledge, are there other things happening that you can leverage or take advantage of, to ensure that this knowledge and this information is going to get captured? And there's the typical things here that we talked about, right? community events, conferences, things like that. But what are some other ways that you can? And when can you develop? Can you have your most impact, for example? And how will you deliver? So these are the tactics? Right? How are you going to engage the audience? How are you going to get them these messages in ways that they'll actually get and they'll consume, and they'll understand and they'll find useful, and adventuring outcomes? How will you know that you've been successful? What's your Evaluation Plan? What are the indicators you're going to use? Right? And we're talking about just about quantifiable because those are easy, right? This many views this many participants, bums and chairs, things like that. But qualitative as well. What impact did it have? We were trying? What we were trying to create some sort of inspiration or some sort of engagement? How can you measure that? How can you know that that was successful, for example. And next one, we're looking at questions. So this is an example for as you're thinking through there. Again, there are a number of different tools and approaches and matrices even, and canvases that you can use. But this is an example, in a project that I worked on, for example, where there were a number of specific activities, literature review, focus groups, surveys of both service providers, as well as newcomers. And the goal was to try to uncover evidence based practices. And to understand what types of service delivery were, were better delivered in what service format. And in this case, we're talking about hybrid format. So what was better delivered in person online are a mix of the two, and then the output, because they were trying to reach a number of different audiences, including academics, as well as service providers, as well as policymakers. So peer reviewed publications, because we know that that's where a certain cohort of audience is going to take things more seriously. But also interactive webinars, informative webinars, information webinars, and training webinars for service providers, for example. And then research summaries, snapshots, blog posts, infographics, posters that can add conferences and things like that, to really reach that with that wider audience of frontline practitioners, for example, was really important. So as you can see, here is an example of to do this, because we want to, we want to accomplish this, and this is how we're going to do it. And then obviously, the measurement, all of those of those activities would come later. So when we're looking at in our sector, from community base researcher perspective, these are some of the bigger groups of cohorts that you might be interested in reaching at the core is settlement, service providers, and newcomers depending on on the communities you're trying to reach. Those are really the two most important that you're trying to gather and mobilize knowledge with, but also of the funders and the policymakers, where you're trying to ensure that they understand how they need to invest in certain funding in order to meet certain goals in order to have certain outcomes, for example, other researchers, you want to be able to make sure they understand where your work contributes to theirs, and how it might build on it, for example, or even contradicted depending on the nature of the research, and increasingly private, the private sector. So these could be potential employers, for you, as an individual, you're trying to reach people who can see your work, but they're also emerging sector actors who are doing settlement work and might benefit from the research that's happening at the community level, for example.

Marco Campana 8:13
And then, so why should you share your work. And the reality is just because you have the knowledge and the expertise, and we want to learn from each other the idea of knowledge mobilization, and community based research is at its core, really democratizing that access to information and evidence and knowledge so that we can get through these together and complete each other's work and not compete with each other's work. And that's something that I've heard from him good services, Calgary, for example. And some presentations that really resonated with me, because it's that idea that we're all working on something. But we don't always all have the answers. And as a side note, one of the things I did before I did this session was I went to Google Scholar, and I looked for the term, more research is required in scholarly articles just to see because we see that a lot and research right community based or academic, and it gave me 150,000 results, right, which really means we all continue to build on each other's work and what might seem like a complete piece of research really continues to have room to evolve. So sharing, including even just finished, right your work is in process, or whether it's authoritative, or peer reviewed, still has a lot of value, because someone else might be working on an aspect of it, and could gain from the work that you're doing. So it's really about progress and not perfection, right? Again, the peer review journals for the academic audiences may be important as part of your knowledge mobilization strategy, but there are many, many other stakeholders who will benefit from a more informal approach. And even just knowing about the work as you're doing it not when it's done, not when it's at the end, not when you've moved on to other things can be really valuable, not just for them, but for your work as well. And then of course, ultimately, it builds your profile and reputation as someone who's not just knowledgeable, but is also open and sharing and collaborative in that way. And one model that I like to use comes from a Canadian consultant named Harold Sharkey, who does A number of different things, but including his built out a personal knowledge, mobile mobilization or management approach, where he takes a seek sense and share approach. So it's really kind of almost a curatorial approach. It's not just your work, but other people's work as well, where we're seeking information, we're making sense of it. And then we're sharing not just the information, but our sense making of it, for example. And he's developed a chart here where you see where all of those things are happening. And really, it's sort of a revolving, circular pattern, but you definitely any takes it from the idea of sort of really concrete, sharing all the way up to broader kinds of sharing. So for example, our work teams, where you're sharing internally in your organization, or even in just in the silo of your team, or your project is, is obviously where a lot of us do that knowledge sharing. But then communities of practice where we might be in a private space, a trusted space, where with other collaborators and peers in our sector, where we can share and test new ideas. And then the bigger more public space, the social networks, social networks, but there's like a diversity of ideas and opinions where you can connect with people outside of your domain, who might be doing interesting work are interested in your work. So the idea is that in our work as knowledge mobilizers, we need to straddle all of these spaces, because they're malleable, not just to get the work out, but also to bring perspectives in to our own work and build from collaboration to cooperation. Now, the advent of technology, and this is for years now has made it easier than ever before to share. So there's, there's no, there's no excuse anymore, I can't share this, it's difficult to share, I can't find that information of the databases, the research repositories and the places where they can where you can share are out there as well as completely individualized. So in the case here, of this network that I spoke to, they have a website, a community, a private community website of investment researchers where they can share in a trusted space that the community of practice, that sort of closed but trusted space where they can share new ideas. But LinkedIn is also a space that increasingly for professionals in particular, can be really useful place to share information, to post questions, but also to respond and connect with other people's ideas. So tech in contents are both complex and easy. Now, it's easier than ever before for you, even if you don't want to create a blog, you can write an article on LinkedIn, but you're sharing what matters, you're sharing practical information from the work that you're doing. And it helps to, it helps to rise above some of the noise sometimes in the sense that maybe you're bringing some clarity to it to a challenge or an issue that other people are also working on. And ultimately, technology allows us to share for reuse. And this is one of the things that I think is really important in our work is that we share openly. And we share with the idea that you can take my ideas and bring them forward. So getting outside of that, that closed peer reviewed journal and more into an Open Journal on the academic side, but sharing ideas in spaces and allowing people to take in those ideas and that content, and your project information and run with it. As long as they're also respecting the copyright that they will reshare what they create, using the same type of approach and openness. And that way we can build on each other's work. When it comes to strategies for where to share when it comes to technology, the sky has really become the limit. Right. So as I mentioned, there are these open access repositories. Increasingly, people are sharing on places like ResearchGate, or institutional repositories where other people can find your information. Without the barriers of having to have an academic account or a paywalled account, for example, and really easily social media and blogs. Make it easier than ever before for you to share summaries, share an infographic share an image share a provocation for your work. And that connects you directly to people who are both impacted and interested in the work. community workshops and forums are obvious places and typical places where you can simply run a workshop run a forum to inform the community of the work that you're doing. Increasingly, you can record those and share them for people to access later as well. Places like public libraries and community centers are easy and cheap to rent the space and can serve as a distribution point distribution point for information, but also for sessions that you could run, obviously reaching out through education institutions, whether it's schools, colleges and other institutions, so that instructors and professors and and teachers can use your information in their curriculum, for example. So helping them become aware of what's new, making sense of it for them, and how it might fit into the work that they're doing the curriculum, which will then help you reach younger researchers, for example, which will be quite useful. You can go the more formal route of policy briefs or white papers, again, depending on who your target audience is. So policy briefs, obviously for policymakers, and white paper ethos and love those and so perhaps we'll give those a little bit more credence or consider them more valid, because those are in the format that they're used to. And it could literally be the same thing. You're posting on a LinkedIn post or a blog, but you've reformat that for a different audience and made the access slightly differently. Then of course source places like webinars and online conferences are obvious places where you can share your work and talk with other people doing similar work, create a panel of people who have not just on your project, but on similar types of projects and share those out. And that connects you with people. And increasingly, again, those are being recorded. So you can reuse those after and share it with people who weren't there at the time in place, and podcasts and videos. So like, what I'm doing here is I did this initial presentation live in person and it wasn't recorded. But I can rerecord the information because I think there's value in it and even change some of it based on the feedback that I had in the live session, and put it out there for a different audience to see. And even the same audience who may have been in the room to rewatch again, something new and fresh from it, potentially. And in our, in our sector, there are many, many places communities of practice and repositories, where you can share your work. So for example, on the right, I have the communities of practice. So the national newcomer navigation network settlement, if your focus is on mental health, the CAMH immigrant and refugee mental health project and Metropolis conference, Pathways to Prosperity conference, my own website, you may have a website, your institution, if you're working with an academic institution likely has a repository, and on the left the language side of the sector, for example. So the communities of practice, like to tele and Avenue, but also journals like the tests, Tehsil, Canada journal, or the computer assisted language learning journal, there are many places where they're looking for information about the type of work that you might be doing, where you can share this in different formats with different audiences. And again, share for reuse. So into tele for example, one of the things they've incorporated in is your the people who post there and share resources are able to indicate the reuse rights, the rights of use, and whether this this resource can be reinvested in another website. And this is it's useful to to pay to that reuse functionality. So if you make something, make it downloadable, make it easy to access, make it easy to reuse, use a Creative Commons license, which doesn't take copyright away from you. But it gives people more license to reuse and share the materials that you've created, even re mixing it sometimes as long as they then reshare that same resource under the same creative carbon Commons copyright, which means that that it continues to morph and change. But it becomes available to everyone to use and reuse in their work.

Marco Campana 17:22
And repositories, such as the the this one with just the Child Youth research coalition. Sorry for getting the full name. Their research repository, for example, is a useful place where yeah, the Child and Youth refugee research coalition. So they've posted research from people in their network. And what you'll find is, again, they've got a full report, an executive summary, an infographic, maybe a research snapshot. So giving people a taste at different levels of why should I read that full report, maybe I'll look at the infographic first, then I'll read the executive summary. And then now I'm fully committed. So when you're sharing information in different ways in these repositories, you want to make some bite sized, bite sized resources so people can understand do I want to read your full 50 page or 100 page report? And make that commitment? Well, if I know ahead of time, what I'm getting into and whether this is for me as a stakeholder, then that's helpful as well. And a lot of repositories are increasingly making things accessible in those ways. So again, why does sharing matter? Going back to some of the points I made earlier, it allows you to reach more people, including your colleagues and peers, it allows you to expand people's awareness of your knowledge and experience allows you to learn more from each other more actively, if we're more open, helps answer all of those questions from that matrix, but also the general So what So what and now what, and allows you again, to build your reputation, to scale that reputation, and to build off of each other's work? So we're progressing together and not just seeking seeking perfection in this. So what should you do? What should you do next? What are some tangible steps, and there's a great open working guidebook from the UK, which is where this image is from over here on the right, that that talks about the value of open sharing, but also provides a bit of a toolkit to do that. So just start sharing, right pick a place whether it's on a private community of practice or on LinkedIn or another space where you have access to and be intentional by sharing what you're, what you're working on, build relationships with other people comment on each other's work. Take one item a week and commit to sharing it in these spaces. For example, you don't have to be overwhelmed or feel overwhelmed by this take small steps. But think about working in the open. Think about repurposing something maybe you wrote a report a year ago and reintroduce it to your network. Create a new introduction, perhaps based on something that's a new piece of research that's coming out that's relevant to the work that you're doing. There's no set it and forget it. When it comes to this research. There's always a circular pattern where what you've worked on or are working on will come back into your stakeholders awareness and And, and you can really contribute what you've been working on, but help make sense of it in that context for your users. So by that, I mean, if someone is talking about something in the news, and you've done some work that's related to that, you can then say, hey, really interesting. I also have contributed with this type of work, and it says something the same. So it's consistent with that finding, or, actually, we have a slightly different finding. And I think it'd be interesting to look after example, and that helps people see what's interesting, come to see you as someone not just with knowledge, but with interest in the work and passion as well. And, and again, I'm making smaller bite sized steps. So this is the big one, take these steps, share some content, start writing, start engaging with people. So you can start sharing, you can mobilize other people's knowledge, you can share other people's work very effective as well to help build your reputation. And you can make use of other people's work in the same way that other people can make use of your work, you can build off of someone else's work. So maybe there's a report that asked an interesting question that you're pondering. And you can build off of that and reference it in the work you're doing. And if you if this still feels overwhelming, just start talking about what you're doing, as it says here, talk about the stuff that you're doing, because everybody's working on interesting things. And the more you start to build this as a, as a skill set as a reflex of sharing, it's also less intimidating. So so people may feel well, I'm sharing something that's a half baked idea, or a half formed project, or you know, is not completely thought through yet and just say that, then make it clear that you're sharing because it's interesting, you're sharing a question, you're pondering something out loud. That is valuable to a lot of people in creating that engagement and perhaps connections to work you weren't familiar with. And other people who are doing that work, who you may not have been familiar with as it is at the end of your project, when you've got the fader complete, wouldn't it have been great if we had had this conversation three months ago, when I was thinking about some of this stuff, it could have changed or impacted the work that I'm doing. So just by sharing in by by by building the skill set, and it is a skill set to share. And to talk about the work that you're doing, especially in domains where you don't normally talk about it as a work in progress, you'll find I think some of some have some really strong benefits to that. And I'm talking about not just researchers now, but also people who have created new projects. And you're starting a new year project funded by United Way or a private philanthropic organization or government funder. Literally start by telling people we are working on this project, here are our original project goals, they may change over time. And that's okay, people aren't gonna hold you to the original idea that pivots because of research and work that you're doing, but talk about that as well. But along the way, just let people know what you're working on because it may be of interest to them. You may reach out to people you didn't know or engage stakeholders who can become part of your project are champions of your project. It informs people and engages them and it helps them understand what you're working on and how they might be able to contribute to it. And so you can always reach out to me, I manage knowledge mobilization for settlement, you can connect with me on LinkedIn, my email addresses there. I'm always happy to chat about knowledge mobilization and how we can use it more effectively and strategically in our sector. Thanks for listening

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