I want to organize a discussion!

The Refugee Research Network has embarked on knowledge mobilization activities to increase the awareness and impact of research being produced in forced migration. We are holding a series of online forum discussions that can address issues raised during events in a more in depth way than is traditionally available through the time constraints of a panel format and Q&A’s.

While traditional outputs (presentations, summary reports, edited volume) are well under control in the academic community, it could be productive to consider the content produced in ways relevant to non-academic audiences (policy makes, practitioners, interested community members). Disseminating the information through more informal routes and in a more conversational tone might allow for more engagement with those who do not normally read full research papers. For example, we’ve been told many times by policy makers that anything longer than 2 pages just won’t be read, so if we can disseminate content in short bursts (i.e. daily messages in the forums), perhaps it can increase the impact of the scholarship being presented.

The forum will take place over a two week period, at a time that is convenient for you. The forums will be moderated, and at the end, if the interest is there, the “threads” can be collected, edited and published as an e-pub document as part of a larger “e-Symposium” and posted on the RRN site, and included in the RRN repository. It will be available online to all, which can provide a quick snapshot of current thinking about particular themes.

What would I need to do?

Come up with a topic or question for discussion.

Commit to identifying 3-4 key resource people who agree to participate over a two week period by regularly initiating or responding to posts (it’s best if they are interested in conversing with each other as well as with an outside audience).

Coordinate with the resource people about the timing and terms of reference of the discussion.

Contact Michele Millard at mmillard@yorku.ca to work out the details such as making sure everyone is registered as a user on the site and know how to post content.

How does it work?

The Refugee Research Network’s website has the capacity to run online moderated forum discussions and is willing to be the host. An example of a forum can be found here: http://refugeeresearch.net/ms/forums/2014/03/17/march-26-april-9-2014-gender-security-and-access-to-education-in-the-dadaab-refugee-camps/. The RRN will set up the forum, so all you will need to do is post content.

How do I post content?

First of all, you have to register as a user on the RRN site. Instructions can be found here: http://refugeeresearch.net/ms/forums/how-to-participate/. Once registered as a user, you just login to the site and go to the forum you will be posting to (we will send you the URL, but you will also be able to find it on the front page of the RRN website (www.refugeeresearch.net).

There will be an initial post, establishing the issue to be discussed, after which you or the resource people can either reply or add new comments.

Knowledge Mobilization/Dissemination Process (how the RRN can support your activity)

Pre-Forum: The forums will be treated as events and extensive outreach will be done. Collectively, the RRN has a network of thousands of individuals. If available, background material (i.e. readings, references, reports) can be provided well in advance so participants are prepared. Once the topic/theme has been identified, notices will be sent out along with instructions (i.e. how to register as a user in order to post content, how to comment in the forum, where the background material can be found, etc.) through various networks, Facebook, Twitter, list serves, etc. inviting the larger RRN membership and extended network to participate.

During Forum: When interesting things are being said, they can be noted it in our respective Twitter feeds, FB and list serves which will point people to the discussion while it’s happening to engage and encourage participation.

Post-Forum: If an e-publication is created, an outreach and KM strategy geared towards policy makers, practitioners and academics will be initiated to launch the publication, using “push” technology as much as possible. We will track uptake through metrics, and are happy to keep participants informed about their readership.

Technical Support

The RRN will have IT resource people available for the duration of the discussions to assist anyone experiencing technical difficulties. We will also be available to answer any questions, help in putting together background materials and other resources that can be used to inform the discussion.

I’m interested! What are the next steps?

  1. Contact Michele Millard (mmillard@yorku.ca) to confirm your details. We will work with you to finalise the dates, topic of discussion and connect you to the technical support team.
  2. Register as a user on the RRN discussion site: http://refugeeresearch.net/ms/forums/how-to-participate/
  3. When the forum is launched, begin!

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