This guidance stresses the need for the agency’s Executive Team to understand the importance of allowing research results to be shared, published and disseminated. This effort should be aligned with the procedures outlined in the agency’s communications plan. Leaders must be willing to provide peers and other field stakeholders with research results and findings in an appropriate and collaborative manner. The usefulness or value of the disseminated results is expected to lead to a change in the state of knowledge of public child welfare or the capacity to act. Research can be used to enlighten (develop a context or answer a question), understand a problem (gain a better comprehension of a problem), motivate, confirm, project or make other movements towards change. These actions demonstrate how research positively affects children, youth and families.
A challenge that agency leaders may encounter is when research findings are misused or presented in the context of a prejudiced or biased environment. In this case, those responsible for communicating and disseminating the research results will want to identify a process for managing this.
It is important for a researcher to be in a position to inform and communicate with management to match the goals with the methods such that management expectations are aligned with the requirement and limitations of research.
The dynamics of publishing and disseminating the results is a contextual factor to address to shape future research practices.
A key issue is recognition of the importance of agencies disseminating results from research studies to inform the public child welfare field, even if the results are not positive.