Dissemination: What do we know about spreading evidence?

In brief

Dissemination is a planned process for spreading information to target audiences through determined channels. The goals of dissemination are to raise awareness, to increase understanding, and to encourage action. There are some important principles to consider when developing a dissemination plan.

In this evidence brief, EENet’s Andrea Flynn looks at the fundamental principles of dissemination, dissemination strategies, and how to disseminate knowledge to ensure it will be used.

Read the main messages below or access the PDF.

Main messages

  • Dissemination is an active, planned process for spreading information to target audiences.
  • Before a dissemination strategy is selected, it is important to determine if the goal is to raise awareness, to increase understanding, or to encourage action.
  • The best approach to dissemination depends on the target audience’s needs, preferences, and context, and addresses barriers and facilitators to knowledge access and use.
  • Interactive approaches to dissemination, involving engagement and participation of target groups, are more effective than passive approaches.
  • An effective dissemination plan considers the audience, the message, the messenger, the method, and the expected outcomes.
  • Dissemination messages are more likely to “stick” if they follow the principles of “SUCCESs” – Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories.
  • When disseminating “lessons learned,” it is important to include information about what was successful as well as what was not successful.
  • A plan should be developed to evaluate the impact of dissemination activities.