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Dissemination Strategy

In this Article Sophia Rost explains what dissemination means and how to do it.
© This work by Sophia Rost is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

In the first step, we logically aligned resources, activities and goals of the project in a logic model. In the second step, we examined the stakeholders of the project very systematically in a stakeholder map and planned the type and frequency of communication and how they should be involved. In the final step, we will combine both in a dissemination strategy.

Due to the wide range of disciplines, there is no uniform use of terms like dissemination, transfer, and implementation (Rabin, et. al, 2008).

Dissemination of innovation is a well known aspect of research and design processes for disciplines like marketing, public health, disability studies, community development, agriculture, social sciences communication, management and education (Gannaway et. al, 2013).

Gannaway et. al describe dissemination as follows:

“While the term ‘dissemination’ has commonly been associated with the aspects of distribution and raising awareness, researchers working in the population health and school education sectors have come to describe dissemination as aiming to result in changes in practice.” (Gannaway et. al, 2013, p. 411)

Therefore, dissemination is not seen as an unitary action but rather as a planned process to reach the target groups and to convince and engage them troughout the project to reach an intended change.

Through the D-Cubed-Project, the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) generated knowledge on effective dissemination methods by analyzing 244 projects in 2010/11. They found that a successful dissemination strategy consists of the following elements (The D-Cubed Guide, p. 13, 2011):

Assessment of the climate for change by for example:

  • understanding the intended impacts and perceived benefits,
  • addressing the evident need,
  • considering the feasibility of project implementation,
  • asserting a willingness and ability to change including readiness of leadership to bear resourcing costs.

Engage potential adopters throughout the project by:

  • interacting with targeted potential adopters on an ongoing basis,
  • planning for interaction and responding to changes and opportunities,
  • building empowerment and ownership in adopters and institutions.

Transfer sustainable impact beyond the life of the project by:

  • making outcomes adaptable,
  • making the outcomes findable,
  • determining the capacity of the project to provide ongoing support,
  • articulating the value of the project outcomes,
  • nurturing ongoing commitment, ownership and capacity to adopt.

How to disseminate?

As we learned in this course there are plenty of ways to make research outputs (as data, code, methods, paper) publicly available by:

  • uploading on Open Science repositories and platforms,
  • publishing in Open Access journals.

The D-Cubed Guide lists the following activities to disseminate:

  • Branding with a short catchy project name, a logo and a uniform corporate design Conferences
  • Email lists, discussion forums, and other social networking tools
  • Funding sub-projects at other institutions, mentoring, and participatory dissemination
  • Guides and teaching materials
  • Influencing policy
  • Journal articles and book chapters
  • Media releases
  • Meetings, discussions, roundtables and invited presentations
  • Networks and communities of practice
  • Newsletters
  • Project conferences, workshops, showcases and forums
  • Project final report
  • Webpages, online repositories, audio-visual material and other online content

Graphic with people


  1. Read pp. 12 -29 of the D-Cubed Guide to learn more about the three elements of an effective dissemination strategy.
  2. Consider for your dissemination strategy: Which stakeholders need to be involved in which phase of the project? What needs might they have in relation to the project? Which dissemination activities are necessary?
  3. Share your ideas below and comment on one post of your peer learners.
  4. Read the dissemination strategy of this online course below and consider what elements you might adapt for your research project.
© This work by Sophia Rost is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
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