Developing a research communications strategy
ROER4D Communications Adviser
15 October 2014
Audience analysis findings
Research on OER for Development
In what ways, and under what
circumstances can the adoption
of OER address the increasing
demand for accessible,
relevant, high-quality and
affordable education and what
is its impact in the Global South?
in the Global South
1. Build an empirical knowledge base on the use and impact of OER in
2. Develop the capacity of OER researchers
3. Build a network of OER scholars
4. Curate and communicate research to inform education policy and
ROER4D Communication and Evaluation supported by DECI-2
(IDRC DECI-2 Project)
An IDRC funded research
project to build and mentor
Evaluation for IDRC flagship
Steps in the DECI-2 Research Communications process
Progress towards fine-tuning communications
ROER4D Process of developing communications strategy
Developing a communications strategy with DECI-2 team at Feb 2014 workshop
ROER4D Defining purposes, objectives, methods and
media already using
ROER4D Clarifying audiences and matching purpose
Continue to connect with DECI-2 team virtually to
Four key Purposes for ROER4D Communications
established at initial Communications workshop
1. Visibility for project
2. Knowledge generation
4. Research capacity development
These have informed our
Progress so far
Just completed one
Audience analysis activity August-September 2014
Objective: gain a better understanding of communications experience and
needs of researchers in the ROER4D network, to not only inform our
communications strategy going forward but also to develop an
understanding of how the sub-projects are planning their own research
Method: 45min–1hour Skype interviews focusing on three main areas as
prompts for discussion:
What was working well
What could be improved or enhanced
What the sub-projects’ plans were for their own project communications
and research communications.
Findings: gave insight and direction for ROER4D communications going
High-level findings #1: what is working well
The ROER4D Website (www.roer4d.org) is seen as important, credible and attractive and
at centre of the project’s communications. Researchers seem happy to refer others to it.
Different sub-projects are using and plan to use the website for their communications in
different ways - some to host their own communications on their own page and others to
use their page to link to their own websites and other communications channels.
The website is fulfilling its purpose for the first stage of the project "what the project is
Researchers consider that ROER4D should pursue its social media strategy (Twitter,
SlideShare and Facebook) as that is where our audiences are.
Sub-projects feel generally connected to the central hub and feel part of the project. Those
who participated in QH live sessions feel more connected and know what is going
Personal connections especially with Tess Cartmill, the project manager, and with Cheryl
Hodgkinson-Williams and Henry Trotter via Question Harmonisation has helped make
people feel part of the network.
High-level findings #2: what can be improved
Some researchers want more content and sharing on the website than is currently
available e.g. QH process and resources, other resources, sharing of research
There is an appetite for regular monthly news bulletins of project level news - at least
three researchers suggested a newsletter or email of project roundup independently of
Social media is not used extensively by many researchers with a few notable
exceptions so need other ways of alerting our researchers to network news, links, etc.
Researchers are responsive to the network team helping with a research
communications strategy or feeding into it.
Appetite for regular live sessions using Adobe Connect or Hangouts for other topics
and to open these out to outside of the network.
Vula is used/seen more as a repository rather than a communication channel. One
researcher felt it is not user friendly.
High-level findings #3: plans for own research
Smaller teams have fewer resources for communications activities than larger research
Projects who started later than others feel a bit behind or not ready to communicate
A few projects feel 'different' from the others and feel less part of the network but would like to
communicate/participate more if they can find a way
Some sub-projects have clearly identified stakeholders while others have broad roles and
types but not specific people, groups or networks. The NGOs and Advocacy types are more
active and strategic here.
Most sub-projects plan to produce papers, conference presentations and reports. Some
indicate e-books and the sub-projects working together willing to produce joint publications
One sub-project plans to introduce a tool for interrogating data by country on a website
Some sub-projects want to include or give opportunity for their research participants to
Recommendations and next steps
Review and enhance website to include new or revised sections whereby users can
a) get an update on the current status of sub-projects in one glance
b) highlight access to resources and make them more findable
c) update individual sub-project pages with summary of where they are.
Set up an email newsletter: This will comprise updates and news that includes
contributions from sub-projects and curate what is produced on blogs, events and
Showcase what is happening in sub-projects on our blogs and events pages.
Develop systems for more regular contact with contact people in sub-projects in
communications (including a regular schedule of webinars).
Plan ahead for types of conferences, events for presentation of findings and
research and/or identification of journals (open access being a requirement).
Investigate setting up a private area for the sub-projects on the ROER4D website to
share more internally focused resources.
[Possible] Organise a November/December online conference/symposium to invite
project teams to give updates on their projects as a pre-prep for Banff.
Links and license
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.