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Recently, our external grant evaluator met with our project team and advisory board and identified the need for early planning for dissemination of our findings even though we were only 1/6th of the way into our project.

My college district was awarded a multi-year federal project that requires national dissemination. We had specified how we were planning to accomplish this national dissemination in the last year of the project. The evaluator, however, emphasized the importance of dissemination planning

A recent article by Deborah Ward in eSchoolNews, “How to Disseminate the Results of a Grant-Funded Project,” (April 2011), reinforced what our external evaluator had suggested about early planning for dissemination. Ward states, ”Seasoned grant writers might notice that some funders, especially for major grant programs, ask for a dissemination plan so that others can learn from the results of grant-funded projects and replicate successful projects in their own institutions … Here are a few general suggestions to help guide the creation of a dissemination plan:

  • eSchool News: Technology News for Today's K-20 EducatorWhat local avenues are available for dissemination of project results?...
  • To disseminate project information at the state level, look for newsletters your state education department might publish, or research state-level organizations related to the project’s area of focus…
  • At the national level, consider the What Works Clearinghouse of the federal Education Department’s Institution of Education Sciences…
  • Consider holding a webinar, perhaps in conjunction with one or more collaborative partners in your project …"

Research Utilization Support And HelpAn additional resource that you might consider in your proposal dissemination plan is the Research Utilization Support and HELP (RUSH), “Developing an Effective Dissemination Plan,” (January 2001). The authors identify the goal of dissemination as utilization. They cite ten elements of an effective dissemination plan:

  • goals;
  • objectives;
  • users;
  • content;
  • sources;
  • medium;
  • success;
  • access;
  • availability;
  • and barriers.

Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale UniversityThe Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University published “Beyond Scientific Publications: Strategies for Disseminating Research Findings,” (February 2009). The center recommends: “In creating a dissemination plan, researchers should consider several key questions:

  • Goal: What are the goals and objectives of the dissemination effort? What effect is the dissemination plan aimed at producing?
  • Audience: Who is affected most by this research? Who would be interested in learning about the study findings?
  • Medium: What is the most effective way to reach each audience? Which resources does each group typically access?
  • Execution: When should each aspect of the dissemination plan occur (e.g. at which points during the study and awards)? Who will be responsible for dissemination activities?”

An additional resource is eHow’s article: “How to Write a Dissemination Grant Proposal,”  includes several step-by-step instructions:

  1. “Write an informative summary of the research that will be disseminated.
  2. Give details on why the research is important.
  3. Explain in detail each step of the dissemination and what the projected outcome is. Describe how each objective will be measured.
  4. Always include a descriptive time line that shows when the project activities are expected to be started and completed.
  5. Show how you will show your objectives were met. Each objective should be addressed separately…”

Dissemination is really about explaining your best practices to a wide audience: what worked, what didn’t and what suggestions you may have for others to successfully adapt your project.<>