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After a research project, how do I effectively communicate my findings?

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After the statistical results are calculated and analyzed, the findings need to be communicated. This is the fun part! After all the hard work, it’s time to spread the news.

Relying on word of mouth alone or simply writing a summary report will not help make needed changes in clinical practice and will not energize new people to conduct or participate in research. You must communicate your findings so that changes in practice will occur; otherwise, the research and all the hard work were basically worthless.

You can use research findings to promote changes in patient care delivery, to establish or develop clinical guidelines, to develop healthcare policy, or to establish needed educational inservices.

Communication can be either formal or informal, and can occur in a multitude of different presentations. Ways to promote and disseminate research findings include:

  • Publication of findings in scholarly journals
  • Presentations at national or local professional conferences
  • Written clinical summary statements
  • Poster presentations at local and national conferences
  • Verbal information at local unit meetings and at various hospital committee meetings
  • Presentations at journal clubs
  • Dissertations
  • Presentations at continuing educational inservices

When communicating research findings, researchers must avoid research jargon so that everyone can understand the terminology. If data were collected at outside agencies, findings should be shared with them and the subjects. Information sharing might include a thank-you letter for the support received, and briefly describe the findings, along with an offer to give a presentation on the research findings. This type of letter support helps build excitement about future research. A thank-you letter can also be posted where subjects who participated in the study can read about the findings if they are interested.

Marquetta Flaugher, ARNP-BC, DSN

(May 2011)