post cards from congress – day 3

Day 3 was a slow start but one that ended up with real and intellectual sunshine.

The morning was slow because all the delegates were busy at association meetings.  The book fair was quiet and resembled a “Where’s Waldo” game from the late 1980s.  Finding the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) booth and neighbouring SSHRC booth is much easier than finding Waldo.

After 24 booth visits (20 of them after lunch) and over one dozen substantial conversations about KMb, the most frequent question was, again, “How can my university get involved.” This is a question the RIR universities will be considering post Congress.  The day ended with a table of SSHRC and CFHSS colleagues.  Words our colleagues used to describe Day 3 included:







Sunny Beaver


Maple Bacon Dog

The day had some great opportunities for learning, for reflection and for team building among colleagues.  Congress is about research and learning but it is also about connections.  It’s about knowledge and research connections as well as building those connections that will see us through another year.


post cards from congress – day 2

Day 2 started out foggy and damp but the research was shining at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education.

Ben Levin and his PhD students from the Research Supporting Practice in Education group at UT OISE were presenting on their research on knowledge mobilization in education.  It was great to see graduate students present to their fellow students and faculty and some community/government partners about KMb products, KMb events and KMb networks.  Ben’s group is one group that ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) turns to for evidence to inform our KMb practice.

From there we attended a Big Thinking presentation by the Rt. Hon Michaël Jean who spoke about arts, youth and innovation. Our former Governor General spoke with quiet passion and intensity about youth, First Nations, arts, culture and Haiti.  She and her husband, M. Jean-Daniel Lafond also touched on elements of KMb as shown in our tweets from their presentation.

Meanwhile back at the RIR booth conversations were hopping and we saw an increasing number of substantive conversations. By 3 pm we had received 29 visitors, held 21 KMb related conversations and even spoke to 3 community members who requested knowledge brokering service – a first in 5 years of Congress!  And yet some things also never change.  The most frequent questions asked is “How can my university join RIR”.

Our KMb in Action stories are available on our web site and we have started to post KMb tools. Stay tuned for a KMb in Action story presenting KMb tools from all the RIR universities. That’s the easiest way for your university to join the RIR and mobilize knowledge at your organization.

post cards from congress – day 1

Some turbulent rivers start as gentle springs, trickling as they grow into a torrent.  Congress on Day 1 is like that gentle spring, moving, with potential.  It’s quiet at the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche booth but despite that the RIR booth has had a gentle trickle of energizing conversations.

The BIG THINKING lecture by Kwame Anthony Appiah discussed why we should study the humanities. A cool comparison with the natural sciences and engineering showed that only the humanities studies the “magnificent particular” and reminds us that not all knowledge must be mobilized.  Knowledge can have value on its own.  Yet back at the RIR booth we spoke with a humanities scholar who has contributed to pamphlets at galleries and museums ensuring that the viewers’ experiences are informed by academic knowledge.

It is quiet at the RIR booth but it is only Day 1 at Congress.  Congress is about to grow into a torrent of scholarship filled with deep flowing thinking and knowledge mobilization.  Until the torrent starts we’ll continue to engage with scholars and some UNB scenery.

post cards from congress – day 0

One by car and the other by air.

Anyway that gets us from Toronto to Fredericton is a good way to go.  Coming on the heals of CAURA, CUExpo and CAHSPR, ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche is happy to be ending our Spring Roadshow with the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities.  We have presented to health practitioners, community organizations and research administrators and now we get to speak with faculty, a key stakeholder group in knowledge mobilization.

Throughout this week you will read about our Congress adventures in this daily blog feature – Post Cards from Congress – in which we provide sort KMb insights and connections to academic social science and humanities research.  Follow us on twitter (@researchimpact) and join the conversation June 1 at the RIR tweet chat jointly hosted with the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Happy Congressing!

KMb Congress TweetChat- June 1 at Noon EST

Please join us for the KMb Congress Tweet Chat event co-hosted by ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time:  12 noon to 1:00 pm EST

Topic: Making Social Sciences and Humanities Matter to Canadians

Questions to be covered:

  1. How can we more effectively communicate the value of SSH research to different stakeholders?
  2. How do you measure and communicate impact of SSH research?
  3. How can knowledge mobilization maximize this impact?
  4. Open Q & A

See KMbCongress TweetChat Flyer for more information.

In order to take part in this event you must sign up for a Twitter account. If you don’t have a Twitter account, go to and click on the sign up button and follow the instructions to create a profile.

Here are the instructions on how to participate:   Continue reading

Clearly, another clear language summer/ Clairement un autre été en langage clair

York’s KMb Unit held its largest ever Clear Language Writing and Design workshop on May 9th. Workshop participants from a number of groups were excited to take away valuable insights they could apply in their daily work.

Le 9 mai, l’Unité de MdC de York a tenu son atelier de rédaction en langage clair, le plus important jamais tenu à ce jour. Les participants à l’atelier, provenant de divers groupes, ont été heureux d’acquérir des compétences dont ils pourront se servir au quotidien dans leur milieu de travail.

On Monday May the 9th, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit hosted its largest ever Clear Language Writing and Design workshop. The event brought together over 20 participants from a diverse spectrum of groups, all of whom were interested in discovering what clear language is all about and honing their writing skills.  The workshop was facilitated by Matthew Shulman, an adult literacy professional with the Peel Halton Dufferin Adult Learning Network. The event wasattended by the following groups:

  • Summer interns hired through the Knowledge Mobilization for Climate Change Public Outreach project.
  • Summer interns working with the Ontario Literacy Coalition
  • Knowledge Network for Applied Education and Research (KNAER)
  • Summer students from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit engaged in research summary development
  • Staff from the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Knowledge Exchange Network(OMHAKEN).

The workshop consisted of 2 parts. In the first part, Matthew gave an overview of clear language principles and provided examples that demonstrated the value of “writing for the reader”. Participants in the workshop considered their different audiences related to their working research projects- stakeholders such as policy makers, adminstrators, practicioners and community members.  An engaging conversation emerged as to how to make research findings more accessible and relevant to meet the needs of each potential knowledge user through clear language practice.

The second part gave participants a chance to apply their newly acquired skills in a group writing exercise.  “[The workshop] was very informative and engaging” said Samuel Towe, a graduate student with York’s Faculty of Education, “[I] really appreciated the group exercise”. [The] participation of teachers was delightfully engaging and thought provoking” said another workshop participant in their evaluation form.   Continue reading

Social Media: Friend or Foe? / Médias sociaux: Amis ou Ennemis?

Is social media friend or foe of evidence? Social media tools are increasingly used to amplify medical debates and maximize engagement around research and evidence. But where is the evidence that social media works for knowledge mobilization?

Les médias sociaux sont-ils les amis ou les ennemis des données probantes ? Ils sont de plus en plus employés pour amplifier les débats dans le domaine médical ainsi que pour accroitre le recours à la recherche et aux données probantes. Mais où sont les preuves que les médias sociaux sont réellement utiles pour la mobilisation des connaissances.

Is social media friend or foe of evidence?  That was the question posed to a panel at the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research annual meeting in rainy, rainy Halifax on May 11, 2011. David Phipps of ResearchImpact-York shared this panel with David Clements (Canadian Institute of Health Information) and Rob Fraser, Nursing grad student and author of The Nurse’s Social Media Advantage. The panel followed a plenary presentation by Andreas Laupacis, Executive Director, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Andreas used the case studies of Liberation Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis and the Herceptin story of Jill Anzarut to illustrate the emerging role of social media in the evidence dialogue among patients, their advocates and the health care system(s). Andreas’ conclusion was that social media risks privileging anecdote over evidence; therefore, it is incumbent on scientists to participate in social media or risk becoming marginalized. As one audience member put it “social media has burst the scientific research bubble and we no longer have the option to not use it”.

This set up the following panel which explored the role of social media in knowledge translation, “The Changing Landscape of KT: Social Media, Friend or Foe of Expert Knowledge?” David Clements started out by sketching the big picture of social media in research and evidence. Rob Fraser provided his reflections as someone who uses social media and is considering what it means to use social media tools in research: to collect data, share data and ideas, engage with stakeholders and disseminate results. David Phipps presented two case studies from ResearchImpact-York. We have written about Mobilizing Minds: Pathways to Young Adult Mental Health, most recently on November 8, 2010. David presented the new Mobilizing Minds video of young adults presenting the results of Mobilizing Minds research. Young adults expressed interest in receiving information about mental health from a variety of sources including online media.   Continue reading