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Getting your research noticed

In this article, Dr Tom Kingstone explores strategies around getting your research noticed by others.
A photograph showing three people looking at a newspaper and talking
© Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

All good research should be original research. It should therefore seek to either answer a question that has not been suitably answered before or, in some cases, update an answer to a previous question based on new and important evidence or set of circumstances.

This originality helps to ensure that research has the potential to add to our existing knowledge rather than simply reproduce what we already know. By producing new knowledge, research has the potential to make a difference beyond the study itself, however big or small. It is therefore essential that researchers share their research with others so that this new knowledge can help to inform future actions, ideas and, where possible, health and social care practice.

Publishing your research

Publishing research in a peer-reviewed journal is a common way for research to be shared with the a wider audience. Publishing research in this way is important for several reasons, for example:

  1. The peer-review process provides a key opportunity for experts in the field to assess the accuracy and credibility of research findings before these are made public.
  2. Once published, the research can then be judged and critiqued by a wider community of experts working in this field of research.
  3. Publishing journal articles is important for researchers and academic institutions as it provides a means of assessing the contribution and quality of research produced by individuals and institutes.

We will look in more detail at the publication process in the next step (8.3) and also how to write a research paper (step 8.5).

Publishing research in peer-reviewed journals is by no means the only way of sharing research. Neither is it always the best way of sharing research. Particularly when it comes to sharing research findings with non-academic audiences who may have the most to gain from the research (e.g. health and social care practitioners, service users and carers).

Generating Research Impact

An important reason for sharing research is to help generate research impact. Research impact can be defined as the effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia Research Excellence Framework, 2021.

When we think about generating impact through our health and social care research, publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed journal may not an appropriate or accessible way of sharing knowledge for others to put into action. For example, health and social care practitioners may not read peer-reviewed journals. Alternative ways of sharing research are needed to help drive research impact and ensure those who can put knowledge into action have access to this knowledge.

Alternative ways of sharing research can take various formats:

  • Presentations – delivering a presentation at an academic conference of practitioner meeting is a good way of sharing your research with key stakeholders (people with a vested interest in your research).
  • Blogs – A blog is a web page or website led by an individual or group that provides information in a conversational style. Blogs are a helpful way of communicating key messages from your research in a more accessible way (compared to a peer-reviewed journal). You may publish on an existing blog or develop your own blog, which is helpful if you intend to keep a public diary of your research.
  • Podcasts – a podcast is an audio recording, downloadable from the internet, either as a single recording or as part of a series. The content would typically include a spoken lecture, a conversation between a panel of experts about a specific topic or an interview.
  • Infographics – visual ways of displaying information. An infographic could be a diagram to help explain the key components of a theory or framework, or a map to help people to navigate different parts of a service. Infographics are a useful way of displaying information in pictures and images.
  • Animated videos – videos provide an engaging way to share the key messages from a research study and/or to tell the story of a research project. We saw an example a video animation in Week 7.
  • Press releases – You may have access to a Communications and Marketing team in your organisation. If you do, you can work with members of this team to produce a press release – a short summary of your research that can be published on the organisation’s website. The team will share this via their media contacts and networks to alert journalists to your research.

Each of these different formats or outputs can be shared via existing networks and/or via social media, such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. By spreading knowledge through these networks, researcher can generate additional there will be more opportunities for key people and groups to put research into action.

There are some helpful resources available that can track the attention that a piece of published research gains. For example, Altmetric is an organisation that measures and tracks attention surrounding published work in peer-reviewed journals. Altmetric produces an impact score based on the number of times a piece of published research is engaged with (e.g. downloaded, shared on twitter or facebook) – this service also reports whether research has been referred to in policy documents, which could help shape health and social care practice.

Take a look at this example:

Kamper, S. J., Michaleff, Z. A., Campbell, P., Dunn, K. M., Yamato, T. P., Hodder, R. K., & Williams, C. M. (2019). Back pain, mental health and substance use are associated in adolescents. Journal of Public Health, 41(3), 487-493.

Link to altmetric:

Knowledge Mobilisation

People who move knowledge into action are referred to as “knowledge mobilisers”.

The following blog from Fiona Cowdell, Professor of Nursing and Health Research at Birmingham City University, provides a useful overview of knowledge mobilisation:

For a more in-depth look at knowledge mobilisation, we sign-post you to an article by Ward (2016), which describes the role of knowledge mobilisers and the challenges faced in attempting to mobilise knowledge. Ward examined the published literature to help us better understand:

  • Why knowledge is mobilised?
  • Whose knowledge is being mobilised?
  • What type of knowledge is being mobilised?
  • How is knowledge being mobilised?

There is a helpful diagram on page 12, which summarises key considerations around planning knowledge mobilisation activities – these cover the 4 key questions above.

Link to article:


Getting your research noticed is an important part of the research journey. Often the focus here is on publishing research in peer-reviewed journals. Whilst this remains an essential way of sharing research with wider audiences, it is not the only way, or indeed the most effective way of informing health and social care practice. A lot can be done before and after publishing a journal article that can help generate research impact.

© Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
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