Online course: “Research Communications”


Communicating research is not just about disseminating research findings as a fait accompli at the end of a project, but rather about making evidence provided by research bring about change through influential development policies and programs. This entails reflecting on the ways in which evidence can in fluence those who decide, as well as those who influence key players and those who can be affected by the decisions made. Research communication includes understanding the obstacles preventing the uptake of research by decision makers and reflects on the most appropriate strategies, tools and channels to reach key audiences that can promote policy changes.

Curriculum of the online course: “Research Communications”

Module 1. Introduction to research communication

  • Why is it important to communicate research.
  • How does research communication differ from dissemination.
  • The planning of research communication.
  • Opportunities and challenges of planning research communication.
  • Diagnosis of your capacities for research communication.
  • Basic structure of a communication plan. Background and objectives.

Module 2. Defining audiences and messages

  • Who do you want to reach.
  • Stakeholders: the importance of fruitful relationships.
  • Identification of policymakers.
  • Decision-making drivers.
  • Key messages: What do you want to communicate.
  • The importance of the message and speech.
  • What does “key messages” stand for when it comes to research?
  • Tools: The elevator and The taxi driver test.

Module 3. Communication strategies and tools

  • General communication strategies.
  • How to select a strategy.
  • Tools and channels.

Module 4. Policy briefs. Research and media

  • Policy briefs as a tool for informing the decision making process.
  • What is a policy brief. Why is it important.
  • How to write a policy brief
  • What is the media and how does it work.
  • Why do you need to engage with media.
  • Challenges and opportunities in communicating research through media.
  • What are the different types of media and who is engaged.
  • Developing your contact database with key media players.
  • Making your research newsworthy.

Module 5. Skills for communication: presentation, writing and social media

  • How to make an effective oral presentation.
  • The 4 Ps.
  • Presentation skills and techniques.
  • Making a powerful PowerPoint.
  • What does Web 2.0 mean and what is social media.
  • Why do we need digital tools.
  • Challenges of digital communication.
  • Guidelines for incorporating digital tools in research and research dissemination.

Module 6. Communication strategy organization, monitoring and assessment

  • Why is it important to monitor and evaluate your research communication plan.
  • Approaches and indicators.
  • Useful tools.
  • Human resources: the importance of leadership and coordination.
  • Financial resources: How to prepare a budget.
  • Fundraising.
  • The schedule: the importance of flexibility.


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