We conducted a needs assessment of public health researchers November 2016 - January 2017. The aims of the study were to capture the evolving needs, opportunities, and challenges of public health researchers in the current environment and provide actionable recommendations. Participants (N=24) were recruited through convenience sampling and one-on-one interviews were audio recorded. Qualitative analyses were conducted using NVivo 11. The data revealed that researchers recognized the need to communicate the significance of public health research findings to the public, yet felt they lacked the skills and resources necessary. Many researchers questioned the value of making articles, research data, and other outputs openly available. They expressed their frustration in trying to make complex data sets and research findings easily digestible by broad audiences. Finally, they did not make the connection between their professional marketing activities and dissemination. Information professionals can assist public health researchers in modernizing and broadening their dissemination practices by considering alternative forums, such as repositories and open education resources, and by utilizing formats, such as data visualizations, that more effectively convey research findings. Libraries can also introduce researchers to plain language summaries of research outputs and ways in which social media is being used to communicate to the public. These strategies could advance public health communication to the public, practitioners, and policymakers, as well as contribute to open science.
This was a presentation at the Medical Library Association annual conference, May 2018, Atlanta, GA. The study which was presented on was the local (UMN) analysis of a larger multi-site study led by Ithaka S+R.
Bakker, Caitlin; Hunt, Shanda.
Information Science Solutions to Communicating Public Health Research Findings to the Public.
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