Building a Stronger Future for Canadian Children and Youth Through Social Innovation / L’innovation sociale aide à bâtir un meilleur avenir pour les enfants et les jeunes du Canada

This story was originally posted on the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences blog on March 12, 2014 and is reposted here with permission.

Ce récit a été publié la première fois sur le site Fédération des Sciences Humaines, le 12 mars 2014. Il est repris ici avec permission. Version française disponible ici.

David J. Phipps, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services, York University

On February 24, 2014 ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) and Senator Kelvin Ogilvie co-hosted an event demonstrating the impact of social sciences and humanities research on the lives of Canadian children and youth. We were pleased to be joined by the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada at this event.

The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Debra Pepler (Professor, York University), Danielle Quigley (Postdoctoral Fellow), Susan Climie (National Director of Training, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Debra Pepler (Professor, York University), Danielle Quigley (Postdoctoral Fellow), Susan Climie (National Director of Training, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

In his opening remarks to this event Senator Ogilvie commented, “A new language of innovation is emerging, that of social innovation…Research is certainly an important input into social innovation but research alone isn’t enough.”  The most successful products, the most effective policies, and the most beneficial community services are developed when researchers, community partners, policymakers and businesses work together to address challenges and find solutions.

“That is knowledge mobilization, making research useful to society. Knowledge mobilization seeks to support collaborations between researchers and those organizations able to turn research into action and thus maximize the economic and social impacts of research. Knowledge mobilization helps to enable social innovation,” said Senator Ogilvie.

Seven projects that have demonstrated a positive impact on the lives of children and youth were profiled at the event.  These seven projects featured partnerships between post-secondary institutions and municipal, provincial and federal agencies, from the Nunatsiavut Government (and we were joined by that Government’s president, Sarah Leo), RCMP, school boards, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Red Cross, Scouts Canada, Parachute Canada, a library and a public health agency.

Wladyslaw Lizon (MP, Mississauga-East - Cooksville), The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Robert Haché (Vice-President Research and Innovation, York University), Ted Hsu (MP, Kingston and the Isands) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

Wladyslaw Lizon (MP, Mississauga-East – Cooksville), The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Robert Haché (Vice-President Research and Innovation, York University), Ted Hsu (MP, Kingston and the Isands) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

There are three elements that combine to make effective knowledge mobilization: 1) the right research; 2) the right researcher (and students); and, 3) the right partners. These seven projects were nominated by their institutions and selected by RIR because they fit these criteria.

In the words of Susan Clime, Director of Training for Big Brothers Big Sisters (partner with Deb Pepler from York University and PREVNet NCE, on the Healthy Relationships Training Module project), “It was wonderful to meet the Senators, MPs and Assistants – all of whom were so encouraging and supportive. It was helpful to hear what is important to each of them, as we all look to enhancing opportunities for children and youth and families in Canada”.

At the end of the day that was the goal of this event: to make connections between research, policy and practice.  For more information on those seven projects please click on the links below to see the poster and a ResearchSnapshot clear language research summary on one academic paper related to the project.

For a gallery of photos from the event please click here.

Trevor Bell, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador: Aullak, Sangilivallianginnatuk (Going Off, Growing Strong) “Going off” on the land helps Inuit youth improve mental health

Debra Pepler, York University: Giving adults the right training helps to prevent bullying

Barbara Morrongiello, University of Guelph: New training program results in better home supervision of 2-5 year old children

Donna Kotsopoulos, Wilfrid Laurier University: Improving math skills in pre-school aged children helps learning outcomes

Gira Bhatt, Kwantlen Polytechnic University: Protecting youth from violence and gang involvement is a collective effort

Nazeem Muhajarine, University of Saskatchewan: Smart neighbourhood design can enhance children’s physical activity

Bonnie Leadbeater, University of Victoria: Bullying prevention creates safer spaces for children and youth (presented by Tina Daniels from Carleton University)

RIR logo

Knowledge Mobilization Documents Best Practices for Clear Language Research Summaries

The following was originally posted in YFile, York University’s Daily News, on October 23, 2012 and is reposted here with permission.

When it comes to conveying the important research to the broader community, clear language summaries are the best choice, this according to a new article published in the peer-reviewed journal, Scholarly & Research Communications.

Led by David Phipps, executive director of research & innovation services, and colleagues from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit (KMb), the group put pen to paper to highlight their experiences in summarizing academic research according to clear language writing and design principles over the past four years and how that practice has made research more accessible to the community.

The article titled, “A Field Note Describing the Development and Dissemination of Clear Language Research Summaries for University-Based Knowledge Mobilization”, highlights best practices for the development, evaluation and dissemination of clear language research summaries as tools for research outreach, research communication and knowledge mobilization.  It is co-authored by Michael Johnny, manager, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, Krista Jensen, knowledge mobilization officer at York University and Gary Myers, a community based researcher and author of the KMbeing.com blog.

“Working with our partners and faculty to identify relevant research helps make York’s research accessible and useful to our community partners” says Phipps.

York University piloted institutional knowledge mobilization with the University of Victoria in 2005 under a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Since then, York University has grown its knowledge mobilization collaboration with the University of Victoria to include the other four ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche universities: Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan.

York currently has more than 220 clear language research summaries in a series titled ResearchSnapshot, which is published on Research Impact blog. Working with a cohort of senior undergraduate work study students, the University’s KMb Unit produces between 40 to 50 research summaries every summer.

“York is proud of the work of our award-winning KMb Unit in connecting researchers and students with community partners for social innovation.  As a recognized leader in knowledge mobilization initiatives, York’s work and reputation in this field continues to grow both nationally and internationally,” said Robert Hache, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “The article written by David Phipps and his KMb colleagues provides a framework for others interested in learning more about best practices and York’s initiatives in this area.”

”SRC and its readers are very interested in the communication and use of knowledge as mediated by processes such as knowledge mobilization,” says Rowland Lorimer, SRC editor and director of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. “The work of David Phipps and his knowledge mobilization colleagues at York University is of growing interest to scholars and research partners who are interested in communicating and using knowledge to benefit Canadians. SRC is pleased they have chose to publish their work with us.”

York University’s KMb Unit and the University of Guelph Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship have recently partnered in support of a project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to produce clear language summaries of research at the University of Guelph. The KMb Unit is also working on clear language research summaries with the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health Evidence Exchange Network and the Knowledge Network for Applied Education & Research, a knowledge mobilization network funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Education of which York’s Faculty of Education is a partner. With these partnerships in place, York will be hosting over 500 ResearchSnapshot clear language research summaries.

To read the full text of the article, click here. To view the ResearchSnapshot for this article, click here.

Knowledge Hypocrites / Les hypocrites de la connaissance

By David Phipps (RIR-York; @researchimpact)

We are all knowledge hypocrites.  Neither researchers nor knowledge brokers practice what we preach. David Phipps (RIR-York) reflects on why this is and cites examples from RIR’s work to illustrate some early attempts to effect change.

Nous sommes tous des hypocrites de la connaissance. Ni les chercheurs, ni les courtiers de connaissances ne pratiquent ce qu’ils prêchent. David Phipps (RIR-York) réfléchit sur les causes et donne des exemples issus du travail du RIR pour illustrer les tentatives entreprises pour changer cet état de fait.

Many of us working in knowledge mobilization are hypocrites. I am a knowledge hypocrite. You are likely one as well.

I have previously blogged about the need for knowledge brokers to base their practice on evidence from research. I also charged KMb researchers to connect their research to KMb practitioners. I was recently speaking to a couple of researchers from KT Canada and raised this with them.  I told them that most of the KT Canada research is not helpful to KMb practice. Many KT Canada researchers produce single studies with little systematic reviews to provide actionable messages to knowledge brokers. Although all KMb/KT researchers advocate that research should be made accessible to practitioners, KT Canada researchers rarely do (an exception being John Lavis’ group at McMaster who create user friendly summaries of their systematic reviews). I compared much KT scholarship to grains of sand. Important in their own right but as a knowledge broker I need to know what the beach looks like not understand every grain of sand.

KT researchers do not practice what they preach.

But just so we share this responsibility equally, most knowledge brokers are similarly hypocritical. We advocate for the use of research to inform practice but we don’t pursue KMb/KT research to inform our own practice. We advocate that using research needs to be part of an organization’s culture. Employers need to create incentives and time to engage in research.  At RIR-York we always try to set aside one day per month to engage with the literature.  With our busy schedules it is always the first day to be co-opted for operational purposes.

Most knowledge brokers do not practice what we preach either. There are a few of problems that underpin this hypocrisy.

1) KT researchers in health consider health service providers and policy makers as their audience.  KMb researchers in education consider teachers, school boards and policy makers as their audience. But knowledge brokers are also audiences for all KT/KMb research. At RIR-York we try to make some KMb/KT research accessible to brokers through the on line KMb journal club. Posting one broker interpretation of scholarly researcher each month, the five journal club posts have received over 2250 views. This illustrates that there is an appetite for broker accessible versions of scholarly research.

2) There are few venues for knowledge brokers and KMb/KT researchers to interact; therefore, we rarely do. One exception is the upcoming Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum in Ottawa June 19-20. The conference theme is “bringing the art and science of KMb together”. In my keynote address I shall be challenging the audience to bring KMb science and KMb practice together in an evidence informed way (evidence informed practice and practice informed evidence).

3) Knowledge brokers do not see themselves as researchers, even in a participatory sense. Knowledge brokers have a lot of practice based knowledge to share. We make videos and blogs and tweet and that’s all critical but it doesn’t capture the attention of university based researchers who privilege peer review as their only currency. Taking lessons learned from our community based researcher colleagues we need to think of practice based research in a participatory fashion and collaborate with KMb/KT scholars to develop research evidence that is useful to our practice. Check out RIR-York’s peer reviewed publications posted in York’s institutional repository, and yes, we are developing ResearchSnapshot clear language research summaries of these papers such as the one produced on our 2009 Evidence & Policy article.

We remain knowledge hypocrites. Until researchers receive time and incentives for making their research broadly accessible and knowledge brokers receive time and incentives for accessing that research we shall remain hypocritical.  Well-meaning indeed, but hypocritical. The system won’t change overnight but it won’t change at all if we don’t start to seek out KMb/KT researcher/practitioner collaborations.