IR-related communications and advocacy range from productive dialogue and engagement throughout research planning and implementation, through to translation and sharing of results through broad-based advocacy or awareness-raising materials, and ultimately to the uptake and integration of research conclusions into local, national or international policies and practices.1 This broad scope highlights how communications and advocacy take place at all stages of an IR project and comprise many kinds of specific communication approaches, including thought leadership, data visualization, mentoring, facilitation of proposal development and social media messaging, as well as and specific information products such as research reporting guidelines, peer-reviewed papers, press releases, web sites, meeting/conference presentations and policy briefs.2
Transparency, openness and engagement – among IR team members, and with broader project stakeholders and participants – are critical. They underpin accurate recognition of the problems that impede health interventions, support the development and sharing of research questions and approaches, and promote continuous dissemination of experiences, lessons and findings. Going beyond traditional ‘one-way’ research dissemination – through ongoing ‘two-way’ dialogue, targeted advocacy and strategic communications – helps to transfer IR-related awareness, knowledge and capacities to stakeholders and participants, and allows existing barriers to research evidence uptake to be more readily identified.3
This ongoing nexus between the research process and open communication is a defining characteristic of IR. This approach is essential to promoting ownership of the research process, to facilitating the uptake of research outcomes and conclusions, and to their ultimate translation into sustainable action and health improvements.
The specific goals of this module are to enable you to: