Developing an effective knowledge dissemination plan

National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR). (2001). Developing an effective dissemination plan. Retrieved from


The main goal of disseminating research findings at the end of a project is to use them to inform decision making and ultimately improve health outcomes. This resource outlines a series of steps to develop an effective knowledge dissemination plan. To facilitate the relevant and practical application of this knowledge, the developers of this method recommend involving potential/intended users in the planning and implementation phases of research design.

Steps for Using Method/Tool

This method introduces users to several characteristics of effective dissemination plans. The developers suggest that knowledge producers consider the following key elements as they design their knowledge dissemination plan:

  1. Establish goals for the dissemination project or initiative
  2. Articulate specific objectives required to achieve each goal
  3. Define the scope and characteristics of potential users/target audiences
  4. Determine what content/information will be disseminated (comprehension level, language, framing to meet the needs of defined user groups, etc.)
  5. Identify sources that potential user groups view as being credible, and consider ways to partner with these sources, such as accessing a group's network
  6. Determine the medium that will best deliver the content/message to potential users
  7. Decide how to determine the success of the dissemination activities; what measures or indicators will be used and how will these be collected and analysed as part of this evaluation?
  8. Describe what steps will be taken to promote ongoing access to project-related content, and consider how users will access this information in the future
  9. Identify strategies to inform potential users about the availability of project-related information, including accessible format(s)
  10. Identify potential barriers that may interfere with users' access to or application of the knowledge, and develop targeted strategies to reduce these barriers

The developers present a series of questions to consider when implementing the steps listed above. The dissemination planning process should draw on a wide range of strategies and tools, tailored to address the needs of particular groups within the target audience.

These summaries are written by the NCCMT to condense and to provide an overview of the resources listed in the Registry of Methods and Tools and to give suggestions for their use in a public health context. For more information on individual methods and tools included in the review, please consult the authors/developers of the original resources.

We have provided the resources and links as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by McMaster University of any of the products, services or opinions of the external organizations, nor have the external organizations endorsed their resources and links as provided by McMaster University. McMaster University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites.

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