Sowing our seeds


With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The art of dissemination is a complex undertaking involving thoughtful considerations, creativity, and a clear understanding the targeted audience(s). Having a keen eye for a detail throughout the dissemination planning process ensures your audience is both engaged and at the table.

In the TEDx Talk, Verses and flow: The art of dissemination, Stacy Smallwood, approaches the discussion of dissemination metaphorically to describe the process as “scattering the seeds of what we have learned” and defining the concept as a “process by which we share our knowledge and information.” Throughout this semester, the incorporation of TED Talks has been an integral component of weekly blog posts to illustrate, inspire, and share additional information on a topic. Parallel to CEnR, the mission of TED is to “change and engage” and viewed by some as a pedagogical tool in the dissemination process (Sugimoto & Thelwall, 2013).

Romanelli, Cain, & McNamara, (2014) state in the article, Should TED Talks Be Teaching Us Something?, “TED Talks have given scientists and other researchers a real-time, mass media driven opportunity to disseminate their research, ideas, and theories that might otherwise have gone unnoticed” (p. 1). Additionally, the article provides a table to compare the use of TED Talks to traditional academic lectures.  Sugimoto & Thelwall, (2013) examined the impact of TED Talks and online videos, which indicated a larger impact on the public than on the scholarly community.   The utilization of this form of medium in a dissemination process can be a “highly useful platforms for science popularization” (p. 671).

Designing a CEnR dissemination plan is a collaborative process involving the solicitation of input from all members of the research team and all members actively participating throughout the planning stages. Stacy Smallwood’s TED Talk is an excellent tool to initially engage the members of the research team as they begin to develop an understanding of the dissemination process. The aim of the proposed Participatory Action Research is to initiate action and change. The findings and recommendations from this case study will inform a better understanding of the post-adoption issues and concerns facing families in the community.

Dissemination will occur through press releases and a scheduled community forum to discuss key findings. Through the sharing of individual perspectives captured within the study’s findings, new insights will emerge to inform the creation of an adoption competent community.  The Adoption Advisory Board will maintain an active advocacy role while continuing to spread the “voice of the community” to child welfare policy makers, community service agencies, and the local adoption community. The Adoption Advisory Board will partner with child welfare, mental health, education, foster parent association, and any other key agencies identified through the data collection process to collaborate with on the implementation of the study’s recommendations.  One potential obstacle is ensuring the findings reach adoptive families.  This can be impacted by the scheduling of the community forum and ensuring the time and place is conducive to the targeted audience being able to attend.  Another obstacle is not overlooking an organization or agency who share a similar interest or vision related to the findings or action plan.  This can be addressed through discussions with individuals and agencies to identify additional partners.

Evaluation of the dissemination will be incorporated with the research team through the ongoing reflective process which was established as a component of the study’s utilization of a PAR approach.   Additionally, engaging in conversations with community agencies and adoptive families will serve to solicit their feedback and evaluation of the dissemination process.

Below is an infographic example to be distributed electronically through Twitter and email announcements of the scheduled community forum.

Untitled Report-2


Romanelli, F., Cain, J. & McNamara, P. J. (2014). Should TED talks be teaching us something? American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 78 (6), 1-3.

Sugimoto, C. R. & Thelwall, M. (2013). Scholars on Soap Boxes: Science Communication and Dissemination in TED Videos. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(4), 663-674.

This post is a part of my ongoing participation in Collaborative Curiosity – an online course in community-engaged research sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University. The course is FREE and open to anyone. You can join us on Twitter with #CuriousCoLab. You can follow me on Twitter @BreunBelcherSW

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