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When you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to see already both what form the dissemination actions will take and also how much time they will need and how much they will cost. For example: if the project will be producing a research report about health services for child victims of sexual abuse in Italy, Spain, the UK and France, you will know that your findings will be most useful to ministries and departments of health in those countries and in other European Member States, MEPs and European policy and decision-makers, health personnel, health sector researchers, as well as the media and other organisations working in the area of sexual abuse of children. It is likely that you will decide to produce the report in printed form to send with a cover letter to MEPs, in electronic form to distribute to organisations and national bodies, as a shortened executive summary for the media as part of a press kit on the subject and, if there is a substantial amount of data collected as part of the research, on a CD- or DVD-Rom for distribution to health service professionals and others. You will produce the report in English, French, Italian and Spanish, but you may also wish – if the budget allows – to produce an Executive Summary (say five or six pages only) in other European languages too. You will need to do some research on the best ways to make sure the report reaches the people you want to have it; for example, are there umbrella bodies representing health service professionals? Do they read a regular newsletter that might be prepared to print a small notice advising doctors, for example, that they can obtain the report from you? As you think all these things through, you will want to estimate costs for placing an advertisement in the newsletter, for sending printed copies through the mail, for producing and distributing the CD- or DVD-Rom, for producing a press kit and sending it to selected journalists (which ones? You will have to think about that, too!) It will be very clear that, although the steps in planning a dissemination strategy are not complicated, they take a lot of time and thought. It is therefore vital that the steps that will be followed to implement the dissemination strategy successfully are included in the planning of your project and that they are integrated into project activity.
It’s vital that you take dissemination very seriously and actively plan it. It is not something you can just do at the end of the project. And it’s worth repeating that:
Dissemination is NOT:
Finally, it is worth noting that you should not waste time or resources disseminating materials that are not ready to be used by others. In particular, you should pay particular attention to the results of pilot projects that are really only very provisional, or to materials that have been developed and have not yet been sufficiently tested. In these cases, you may wish to circulate materials with a clear explanation of their limits and advising that they are for information only and should not be quoted or used without further testing. In fact, you might wish to include a request for feedback on such ‘provisional’ materials, so that you can develop them further.
In such cases, too, it might be helpful to disseminate to a very restricted list of ‘testers’ – people whose feedback you would particularly wish to receive. Do not think that, just because you have been running a Daphne project, you must disseminate hundreds of copies of materials or reports – in fact, sometimes the most appropriate dissemination strategy is not to disseminate at all. This, though, should be a decision that you take based on the needs and nature of the project.